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See also: Pathos and páthos


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From Ancient Greek πάθος (páthos, suffering).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈpeɪˌθɒs/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈpeɪˌθoʊs/, /ˈpæˌθoʊs/
  • (file)


pathos (countable and uncountable, plural pathoses)

  1. The quality or property of anything which touches the feelings or excites emotions and passions, especially that which awakens tender emotions, such as pity, sorrow, and the like; contagious warmth of feeling, action, or expression; pathetic quality.
    • 1874, Thomas Hardy, Far From The Madding Crowd, 1874:
      His voice had a genuine pathos now, and his large brown hands perceptibly trembled.
    • 1887, H. Rider Haggard, She: A History of Adventure[1]:
      She could not see, for her whitish eyes were covered with a horny film. Oh, the horrible pathos of the sight! But she could still speak.
    • 20 August 2018, Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett in The Guardian, Young women are smashing it at Edinburgh as the #MeToo legacy kicks in
      Pritchard-McLean’s show is perfectly constructed, and at times deeply moving to the point where some audience members were near tears, yet the pathos is undercut by true belly laughs – but don’t trust me, read the reviews.
  2. (rhetoric) A writer or speaker's attempt to persuade an audience through appeals involving the use of strong emotions such as pity.
    • 1886, Peter Christen Asbjørnsen, H.L. Brækstad, transl., Folk and Fairy Tales, page 250:
      It was impossible to endure the jargon and the affected pathos of the squire any longer.
  3. (literature) An author's attempt to evoke a feeling of pity or sympathetic sorrow for a character.
  4. (theology, philosophy) In theology and existentialist ethics following Kierkegaard and Heidegger, a deep and abiding commitment of the heart, as in the notion of "finding your passion" as an important aspect of a fully lived, engaged life.
  5. Suffering; the enduring of active stress or affliction.


Related terms[edit]


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Further reading[edit]



Alternative forms[edit]


pathos m (plural pathos)

  1. pathos (the quality of anything which touches the feelings or excites emotions)



pathos m (plural pathos)

  1. pathos