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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
It’s a great pity that
It’s a great pity that none of his poems survive.
take pity on sb
▪ She stood feeling lost until an elderly man took pity on her.
▪ It was a great pity that the team was not allowed to perform at other displays during the anniversary year.
▪ It's a great pity she can't be included.
▪ For myself, a great pity.
▪ This by-law has never been repealed and it is a great pity that it is not still rigidly enforced.
▪ He says all the signs are it could soon be as bad as last year, which would be a great pity.
▪ It is a great pity that such reactionary ideas are still harboured by the Labour party in Havering and elsewhere.
▪ If you can go again this is no problem, but for the once-only visitor it is a great pity.
▪ We have often a choice: self pity or spiritual power through suffering.
▪ Although we do feel sympathy for Blanche she seems to wallow in her self pity.
▪ True enough, Morrissey disregarded his original bedsit self pity and began to write from the third person.
▪ By precisely wallowing in her own guilt and self pity she then needs to heighten her self esteem.
▪ There is a lot of regret and self pity in his words.
▪ I find that few fishkeepers use white worm nowadays and I feel that is a pity.
▪ Charles even felt a twinge of pity for Mrs Sweet.
▪ A jury felt enough pity for the mayor to find him guilty of a mere misdemeanor rather than a felony.
▪ For Alex he felt nothing but pity.
▪ He felt a struggling pity and regret.
▪ She felt a stab of pity.
▪ He introduced feeling, compassion and pity to compensate for the loss of the comic element.
▪ To some romantics this may seem a pity.
▪ Though to her, it must seem rather a pity.
▪ On consideration, it seemed a pity to waste this beautiful weather immured in her cabin.
▪ It seemed a pity to disturb them as we went about our daily chores.
▪ It just seemed a pity that Norfolk should have no more appetising soft fruit.
▪ It seemed a pity to waste the unused oxygen in the little chamber, but there was no purpose in waiting.
▪ It seemed a pity to wake Jacqui.
▪ It's just that it seems a pity for him to reveal his identity.
▪ Finally, J. got tired of my everlasting complaints, took pity on me and made me a small electric fire.
▪ Maybe they took pity on me, but they were all very nice.
▪ The Nonconforming preachers took pity on the poor people left behind and ministered to them in their distress.
▪ Nevertheless, the new mayor of the town, Don Bernardo, takes pity on Jacinta.
▪ Please take pity on me and write!
▪ On whom I think the world ought to take a little pity.
▪ When I tried I found I couldn't, but Bri took pity on me and we spent hours playing cards.
▪ The woman with whom we boarded took pity on me and I worked in the house with her.
an object of pity/desire/ridicule etc
▪ A spendthrift with a regular, secure income is an object of desire among bankers.
▪ Because of this, a household obliged to sponsor many feasts gains no prestige, but becomes rather an object of pity.
▪ He left Downing Street in 1963 almost an object of ridicule, condemned in Gibbonian terms as the symbol of national decay.
▪ Mitch's image alone does not make clear that he will be mocked rather than taken seriously as an object of desire.
▪ She became an object of ridicule.
▪ Unfortunately Piggy had been demoted to an object of ridicule by this point in the book so nobody listened to him.
▪ Yet he is held up as an object of ridicule and loathing throughout the land.
pitying look/smile/glance
▪ The other smiled at him a pitying smile.
▪ I felt such pity for that you girl sitting alone in the bus station.
▪ I have no pity for people who lie and get caught.
▪ It's a civil war. They don't want our pity, they need our help.
▪ She was full of pity for the little boy with no one to love and care for him.
▪ When I returned to school, my classmates looked at me with pity in their eyes.
▪ A pity the author only got the respect she deserved after her untimely death.
▪ A jury felt enough pity for the mayor to find him guilty of a mere misdemeanor rather than a felony.
▪ Even at nine years old, I thought it was a pity the Druitt women wrinkled up so early.
▪ He looked up and saw Sylvia looking at him with apprehension and pity.
▪ I felt an unusual twinge of pity for him and reached out and clasped one of his hands in mine.
▪ It is a pity, for much of the pleasure of carp fishing is this tuning-in of a highly developed hunting instinct.
▪ More often auctions are not reviewed; this is a pity, since the management of markets in art deserves scrutiny.
▪ He felt pity for Marla out there all by herself in some little nowhere town.
▪ I pity anyone who has to live with Rick.
▪ I don't want you to pity me - I just want you to help me.
▪ He knew that he had served Zeus well and that he had done right to pity mortals in their helplessness.
▪ I had pitied her up there alone, never going out in the evenings, without friends.
▪ Lucy is much to be pitied.
▪ On the ballot Tuesday should be the question: Which Bay baseball team do you pity the most?
▪ She could not apologize, but she could still pity.
▪ She would never allow him a reason to pity her again, to hold her in contempt.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Pity \Pit"y\, n.; pl. Pities. [OE. pite, OF. pit['e], piti['e], F. piti['e], L. pietas piety, kindness, pity. See Pious, and cf. Piety.]

  1. Piety. [Obs.]

  2. A feeling for the sufferings or distresses of another or others; sympathy with the grief or misery of another; compassion; fellow-feeling; commiseration.

    He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord.
    --Prov. xix. 17.

    He . . . has no more pity in him than a dog.

  3. A reason or cause of pity, grief, or regret; a thing to be regretted. ``The more the pity.''

    What pity is it That we can die but once to serve our country!

    Note: In this sense, sometimes used in the plural, especially in the colloquialism: ``It is a thousand pities.''

    Syn: Compassion; mercy; commiseration; condolence; sympathy, fellow-suffering; fellow-feeling. -- Pity, Sympathy, Compassion. Sympathy is literally fellow-feeling, and therefore requiers a certain degree of equality in situation, circumstances, etc., to its fullest exercise. Compassion is deep tenderness for another under severe or inevitable misfortune. Pity regards its object not only as suffering, but weak, and hence as inferior.


Pity \Pit"y\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Pitied; p. pr. & vb. n. Pitying.]

  1. To feel pity or compassion for; to have sympathy with; to compassionate; to commiserate; to have tender feelings toward (any one), awakened by a knowledge of suffering.

    Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him.
    --Ps. ciii. 13.

  2. To move to pity; -- used impersonally. [Obs.]

    It pitieth them to see her in the dust.
    --Bk. of Com. Prayer.


Pity \Pit"y\, v. i. To be compassionate; to show pity.

I will not pity, nor spare, nor have mercy.
--Jer. xiii. 14.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

early 13c., from Old French pite, pitet "pity, mercy, compassion, care, tenderness; pitiful state, wretched condition" (11c., Modern French pitié), from Latin pietatem (nominative pietas) "piety, loyalty, duty" (see piety). Replaced Old English mildheortness, literally "mild-heartness," itself a loan-translation of Latin misericordia. English pity and piety were not fully distinguished until 17c. Transferred sense of "grounds or cause for pity" is from late 14c.


"to feel pity for," late 15c., from Old French pitier and from pity (n.). Related: Pitied; pitying.


interj. Short form of what a pity. n. 1 (context uncountable English) A feeling of sympathy at the misfortune or suffering of someone or something. 2 (context countable English) Something regrettable. 3 (context obsolete English) piety vb. 1 (context transitive English) To feel pity for (someone or something). (from 15th c.) 2 (context transitive now regional English) To make (someone) feel pity; to provoke the sympathy or compassion of. (from 16th c.)

  1. v. share the suffering of [syn: feel for, compassionate, condole with, sympathize with]

  2. [also: pitied]

  1. n. a feeling of sympathy and sorrow for the misfortunes of others; "the blind are too often objects of pity" [syn: commiseration, ruth, pathos]

  2. an unfortunate development; "it's a pity he couldn't do it" [syn: shame]

  3. the humane quality of understanding the suffering of others and wanting to do something about it [syn: compassion]

  4. [also: pitied]


Pity means feeling for others, particularly feelings of sadness or sorrow, and is used in a comparable sense to the more modern words " sympathy" and " empathy". Through insincere usage, it can also have a more unsympathetic connotation of feelings of superiority or condescension.

Pity (William Blake)

Pity (c. 1795) is a colour print on paper, finished in ink and watercolour, by the English artist and poet William Blake, one of the group known as the "Large Colour Prints". Along with his other works of this period, it was influenced by the Bible, Milton, and Shakespeare. The work is unusual, as it is a literal illustration of a double simile from Macbeth, found in the lines:

And pity, like a naked new-born babe, Striding the blast, or heaven's cherubim, hors'd Upon the sightless couriers of the air. - Macbeth (1.7.21–23)

Like other members of the group it is a monotype produced by printing from a matrix consisting of paint on gessoed millboard, with each impression then finished by hand. By this unusual means Blake could obtain up to three impressions from a single painting. Three such impressions survive of Pity. A fourth, in the British Museum, was an early trial of the design from a different matrix, as it is smaller than the others.

Usage examples of "pity".

I enjoy the expectation with which the top is wrenched off the can of worms as if from some amazing birthday present, and then the sense of anticlimax in the watching faces: the forced tears and skimpy, gloating pity, the cued and dutiful applause.

SPIRIT OF THE PITIES But O, the intolerable antilogy Of making figments feel!

May not the type be beloved for the sake of its Antitype, even if the very name of All-Father is no guarantee for His paternal pity!

But what a pity that it comes branded with the mark of paganism, and christened with the name of the sun god, when adopted and sanctioned by the papal apostasy, and bequeathed as a sacred legacy to Protestantism.

I got away, was passed in pity from one hand to the next, until at last I arrived here.

Actionists, beatniks, hippies and serial killers were all pure libertarians who affirmed the rights of the individual against social norms and against what they believed to be the hypocrisy of morality, sentiment, justice and pity.

Without uttering a complaint, he calmly followed the executioner, pitying his unhappy mistress, and bestowing comfort on his afflicted friends.

And Brat too, at the other end of the table, was watching Simon, but without pity.

Then Psyches fell flat on the ground, and as long as she could see her husband she cast her eyes after him into the aire, weeping and lamenting pitteously : but when hee was gone out of her sight shee threw her selfe into the next running river, for the great anguish and dolour that shee was in for the lack of her husband , howbeit the water would not suffer her to be drowned, but tooke pity upon her, in the honour of Cupid which accustomed to broyle and burne the river, and threw her upon the bank amongst the herbs.

The pity was that Ferrers was intolerant of the things he hated, while Buller was intolerant of the things he admired.

The colonel expressed his pity for me, and assured me that my arms should be restored to me, and my liberty too, in the course of the day.

They continued to meet almost daily from that point on, and sometimes Macro invited Cato to join them, mainly from a sense of pity for the lad, who had only recently seen his first love murdered at the hands of a treacherous Roman aristocrat.

He declared indeed that his love for her was not an absorbing passion like his first, but a mingling of pity, admiration, and that tenderness which his warm heart was ever ready to bestow.

A woman mismated as that poor young woman has been is so much to be pitied that a man dragged into her society as Kenneth Oswald was would slide into a warmer feeling without being conscious of it.

Yet there is pity, too, excited by the spectacle of the little cripple sawing away, his face proud and sombre despite its monkeyish shape and the mass of crinkly hair working loose over his wrinkled brow.