1590s, “affecting the emotions, exciting the passions,” from Middle French pathétique “moving, stirring, affecting” (16c.), from Late Latin patheticus,from Greek pathetikos “subject to feeling, sensitive, capable of emotion,” from pathetos “liable to suffer,” verbal adjective of pathein “to suffer” (see pathos). Meaning “arousing pity, pitiful” is first recorded 1737. Colloquial sense of “so miserable as to be ridiculous” is attested from 1937. Related: Pathetical (1570s); pathetically. Pathetic fallacy (1856, first used by Ruskin) is the attribution of human qualities to inanimate objects.
causing or evoking pity, sympathetic sadness, sorrow, etc.; pitiful; pitiable:
a pathetic letter; a pathetic sight.
affecting or moving the feelings.
pertaining to or caused by the feelings.
miserably or contemptibly inadequate:
In return for our investment we get a pathetic three percent interest.
1. plaintive. 2. touching, tender. 3. emotional.
Word Origin and History for pathetic