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  1. #1
    TheParser is offline Key Member
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    Default "pathetic" vs. "pitiful"

    I have never been able to get a good explanation of the difference between "pathetic" and "pitiful." It seems that for many people, they are synonyms. Can anyone help me? Thank you.

  2. #2
    Frank Antonson's Avatar
    Frank Antonson is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: "pathetic" vs. "pitiful"

    "Pathetic" is clearly of Greek origin. At least the "-ful" of "pitiful" is of Germanic origin. There lies the difference. The effect of the Battle of Hastings sheds light. In an English poem meant to reach the heart you would want to use "pitiful". "Pathetic" is more "brain-oriented".
    Linguist Farmer

  3. #3
    TheParser is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: "pathetic" vs. "pitiful"

    Thank you, Linguist Farmer, for your answer. Your answer is one of the best that I have been able to find. Thanks again.

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