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used in a sentence
2 meanings
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1  —as in:
Her pathetic look saddened us.
Definition pitiful (arousing pity)
  • She was pathetic as she tried to salvage her dignity.
pathetic = pitiful (arousing pity)
Other Uses (with this meaning)
  • The shabby room struck her as extraordinarily pathetic.
  • pathetic = pitiful (arousing pity)
  • I don't let myself say to him what I'd like to, that he probably deserved whatever she did, but he's just too pathetic-looking.
    Kathryn Stockett  --  The Help
  • pathetic = pitiful
  • That pathetic woman. The fact that harder times were coming was surely the best reason for keeping Rosa employed, but no, they fired her.
    Markus Zusak  --  The Book Thief
  • pathetic = pitiful (arousing pity)
  • He walked very slowly, and he had lost so much weight. It was pathetic, that's what it was.
    Paul Zindel  --  The Pigman
  • pathetic = pitiful (something that arouses pity)
  • I think you're a pathetic alcoholic who says fancy things to get attention like a really precocious eleven-year-old and I feel super bad for you.
    John Green  --  The Fault in Our Stars
  • pathetic = pitiful (arousing pity)
  • "They were a pathetic looking bunch: mostly skin and bones, clad in rags with makeshift footwear, and nervous," he wrote.
    Laura Hillenbrand  --  Unbroken
  • pathetic = pitiful (arousing pity)
  • How pathetic that I felt safer in someone else's house than in my own, right?
    R.J. Palacio  --  Wonder
  • pathetic = pitiful (arousing pity)
  • There was something pathetic in it that touched me.
    Bram Stoker  --  Dracula
  • pathetic = pitiful (arousing pity)
  • The owl flopped about pathetically, its talons scratching the door, bashing its head in a panic.
    Tara Westover  --  Educated
pathetically = in a manner that arouses pity

Dictionary / pronunciation — Google®Dictionary list —®
2  —as in:
a pathetic attempt to insult me
Definition very bad — possibly so bad it is laughable (possibly mixed with some feeling of pity)
  • It was a pathetic attempt to insult me.
pathetic = so bad it was laughable
Other Uses (with this meaning)
  • She made some pathetic excuse about having a prior commitment.
  • pathetic = very bad
  • It was a pathetic attempt to claim credit for my work.
  • pathetic = very bad
  • The comment was out-of-character and seemed a pathetic attempt at trying to worldly.
  • pathetic = very bad
  • You're pathetic if you think this thing between us was real.
    Simone Elkeles  --  Perfect Chemistry
  • pathetic = so bad that it is laughable
  • A very pathetic, ill-prepared army, Thomas thought, but an army all the same.
    James Dashner  --  The Maze Runner
  • pathetic = so bad it is laughable or contemptible
  • Maybe she had another weapon in her small pathetic arsenal.
    Robert Cormier  --  After the First Death
  • pathetic = very bad — possibly so bad it is laughable (possibly mixed with some feeling of pity)
  • They've got such pathetic little lives.
    David Almond  --  Clay
  • pathetic = so bad it is laughable or contemptible (possibly also causing pity)
  • Redd thought this funny, in a pathetic sort of way, since neither the Lady of Clubs nor any of the other cabinet members knew where the Heart Crystal was.
    Frank Beddor  --  The Looking Glass Wars
  • pathetic = so bad he is laughable
  • ...after a while started crafting an email to Peter Van Houten about... But I didn't send it. It was too pathetic even for me.
    John Green  --  The Fault in Our Stars
pathetic = embarrassingly bad

Dictionary / pronunciation — Google®Dictionary list —®
Less commonly:
Much more rarely, and typically just in classic literature, pathetic can mean "relating to emotions". One fairly modern example is in the book, A Separate Peace, where the expression pathetic fallacy is used to describe the non-rational human tendency to ascribe human emotions to inanimate objects or animals.
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