• IPA: /pəˈθɛtɪk/


  1. Arousing pity, sympathy, or compassion.
    The child’s pathetic pleas for forgiveness stirred the young man’s heart.
  2. Arousing scornful pity or contempt, often due to miserable inadequacy.
    You can't even run two miles? That’s pathetic.
    You're almost 26 years old and you still can't hold a real job? That's pathetic.
    • 2014, John Oliver, “State Legislatures and ALEC”, in Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, season 1, episode 23, written by Tim Carvell; Josh Gondelman; Dan Gurewitch; Jeff Maurer; Ben Silva; Will Tracy; Jill Twiss; Seena Vali; Julie Weiner, HBO, Warner Bros. Television:
      Look, I-I hate to sound like Billy Baldwin’s agent, but you can’t just copy everything that ALEC does! It’s pathetic!”
  3. (obsolete) Expressing or showing anger; passionate.
  4. (anatomy) Trochlear.
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