Etymology: Middle English pite, from Anglo-French pité, from Latin pietat-, pietas piety, pity, from pius pious
Date: 13th century
a. sympathetic sorrow for one suffering, distressed, or unhappy
b. capacity to feel pity
2. something to be regretted <it's a pity you can't go> Synonyms: pity, compassion, commiseration, condolence, sympathy mean the act or capacity for sharing the painful feelings of another. pity implies tender or sometimes slightly contemptuous sorrow for one in misery or distress <felt pity for the captives>. compassion implies pity coupled with an urgent desire to aid or to spare <treats the homeless with great compassion>. commiseration suggests pity expressed outwardly in exclamations, tears, or words of comfort <murmurs of commiseration filled the loser's headquarters>. condolence applies chiefly to formal expression of grief to one who has suffered loss <expressed their condolences to the widow>. sympathy often suggests a tender concern but can also imply a power to enter into another's emotional experience of any sort <went to my best friend for sympathy> <in sympathy with her desire to locate her natural parents>. II. verb (pitied; pitying) Date: 15th century transitive verb to feel pity for intransitive verb to feel pity
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.