English Dictionary

Pioneers in dictionary publishing since 1819

pathos (ˈpeɪθɒs Pronunciation for pathos



  1. the quality or power, esp in literature or speech, of arousing feelings of pity, sorrow, etc
  2. a feeling of sympathy or pity   ⇒ a stab of pathos

Word Origin

C17: from Greek: suffering; related to penthos sorrow


View thesaurus entry
= sadness, poignancy, plaintiveness, pitifulness, pitiableness

Translations for 'pathos'

  • British English: pathos Pathos is a quality in a situation, film, or play that makes people feel sadness and pity. NOUN...the pathos of man's isolation.
  • Brazilian Portuguese: patos
  • Chinese: > 令人感伤的特质情形、电影或戏剧中> 令人感伤傷的特质質
  • European Spanish: patetismo
  • French: pathétique
  • German: Pathos
  • Italian: pathos
  • Japanese: 悲劇的要素
  • Korean: 페이소스
  • Portuguese: patos
  • Spanish: patetismo

Example Sentences Including 'pathos'

Although she found the pathos of this last remark irritating, Vi was dissatisfied with herself.
Penelope Fitzgerald HUMAN VOICES (2003)
Certainly, some aspects of male vanity are risible, and are nearly always about the pathos of concealment.
Independent (1999)
Dickens has been criticised for his pathos , in a context where evocations of'the poor life ' are seen to be played out.
Glasgow Herald (2001)
If I make that change, I ruin an ending which, as it stands, has pathos and depth and feeling.
Asimov, Isaac The Complete Stories Volume 2
Maria Ewing as Blanche `projected the youth and pathos of this difficult role '.
Susie Gilbert and Jay Shir A TALE OF FOUR HOUSES: Opera at Covent Garden, La Scala, Vienna and the Met since 1945 (2003)
Recently in Wes Anderson's Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums, he has found a note of pathos along with his trademark deadpan irony.
Globe and Mail (2003)
The pathos of Mitford's lingering last illness is heartbreaking ('If only painkillers would kill pain').
Country Life (2004)
With her singular combination of innocence, selfishness and intelligence she has the pathos of a latter-day Miss Havisham.
The Australian (2004)
she asked, matter of fact, wringing the pathos out of her voice.


Log in to comment on this word.