pitiable (adj.)
mid-15c., "merciful, compassionate," from Old French piteable "compassionate, merciful, pious" (13c.; Modern French pitoyable), from piteer "to pity" (see pity). Meaning "deserving pity" is recorded from late 15c. Related: Pitiably.
pitiful (adj.)
c.1300, "merciful, compassionate" (implied in pitifully), from pity + -ful. Sense of "exciting or deserving pity" is from mid-15c.; that of "mean, wretched, contemptible" is 1580s. Related: Pitifulness.
pitiless (adj.)
early 15c., from pity + -less. Related: Pitilessly; pitilessness.
piton (n.)
1898, from French piton "hook, peak of a mountain, piton, eyebolt," in Old French "nail, hook," from Vulgar Latin root *pitt- "point, peak" [Barnhart].
pits (n.)
"the worst," by 1953, U.S. slang, said to be a shortened form of armpits.
pittance (n.)
c.1200, "pious donation to a religious house or order to provide extra food; the extra food provided," also "a small portion, scanty rations," from Old French pitance "pity, mercy, compassion; refreshment, nourishment; portion of food allowed a monk or poor person by a pious bequest," apparently literally "pity," from pitié (see pity). Meaning "small amount, portion" first recorded 1560s.
pituitary (adj.)
1610s, from Latin pituitarius "mucous," from pituita "clammy moisture, phlegm, mucus, slime," possibly from PIE root *peie- "to be fat, swell" (see pine (n.)). Taken as the name for the gland because it was believed that it channeled mucus to the nose. As a noun by 1899.
pity (n.)
early 13c., from Old French pite, pitet "pity, mercy, compassion, care, tenderness; pitiful state, wretched condition" (11c., Modern French pitié), from Latin pietatem (nominative pietas) "piety, loyalty, duty" (see piety). Replaced Old English mildheortness, literally "mild-heartness," itself a loan-translation of Latin misericordia. English pity and piety were not fully distinguished until 17c. Transferred sense of "grounds or cause for pity" is from late 14c.
pity (v.)
"to feel pity for," late 15c., from Old French pitier and from pity (n.). Related: Pitied; pitying.
Pius
masc. proper name, from Latin pius "dutiful, pious" (see pious).
pivot (n.)
1610s, from French pivot, from Old French pivot "hinge pin, pivot" (12c.), also "penis," of uncertain origin. Figurative sense of "central point" is recorded from 1813.
pivot (v.)
by 1841, from French pivoter and from pivot (n). Related: Pivoted; pivoting.
pivotal (adj.)
1844, in figurative sense, from pivot (n.) + -al (1).
pix (n.)
variant of pics, 1930 (see pic).
pixel (n.)
1969, coined to describe the photographic elements of a television image, from pix + first syllable of element.
pixelation (n.)
also pixellation, graphics display effect, 1991, from pixel + -ation.
pixie (n.)
c.1630, of obscure origin, perhaps from or related to Swedish dialect pyske "small fairy," but West County origin suggests ultimate source in Cornwall and thus something Celtic. Earliest references were in pixy-path "bewilderment," literally "path on which one is led astray by pixies," and pixie-led "lost."
pixilated (adj.)
"mildly insane, bewildered, tipsy," 1848, pix-e-lated, from pixie + -lated, as in elated, etc., perhaps influenced by or a variant of pixie-led. A New England dialect word popularized 1936 by its use in movie "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town."
pixilation (n.)
"creation of the effect of animation in live actors," 1947, from pixilated. Also see pixelation.
pizazz (n.)
also pizzaz; pizzazz, 1937, probably originally college or show-biz slang.
Pizazz, to quote the editor of the Harvard Lampoon, is an indefinable dynamic quality, the je ne sais quoi of function; as for instance, adding Scotch puts pizazz into a drink. Certain clothes have it, too. ["Harper's Bazaar," March 1937]
pizza (n.)
1935, from Italian pizza, originally "cake, tart, pie," of uncertain origin. The 1907 "Vocabolario Etimologico della Lingua Italiana" reports it is said to be from dialectal pinza "clamp" (from Latin pinsere "to pound, stamp"). Klein suggests a connection via loan-translation with Medieval Greek pitta "cake, pie," from Greek pitta "pitch" (cognate with Latin adjective piceus "of pitch"). See also pita.
pizzeria (n.)
1943, likely in use in American English in restaurant names by 1930, from pizza with ending as in cafeteria.
pizzicato (n.)
1845, from Italian pizzicato "plucked," past participle of pizzicare "to pluck (strings), pinch," from pizzare "to prick, to sting," from Old Italian pizzo "point, edge," from Vulgar Latin *pits-, probably of imitative origin. As an adjective from 1880.
pizzle (n.)
"penis of a bull used as a flogging instrument," 1520s, from Low German pesel or Flemish pezel, diminutive of root of Dutch pees "sinew," from Old Low German root *pisa.
placable (adj.)
c.1500, "pleasing," from Middle French placable "forgiving, conciliatory" and directly from Latin placabilis "easily appeased or pacified," from placare "to appease" (see placate). From 1580s as "capable of being pleased." Related: Placably; placability.
placard (n.)
late 15c., "formal document authenticated by an affixed seal," from Middle French placquard "official document with a large, flat seal," also "plate of armor," from Old French plaquier "to lay on, cover up, plaster over," from Middle Dutch placken "to patch (a garment), to plaster," related to Middle High German placke "patch, stain," German Placken "spot, patch." Meaning "poster" first recorded 1550s in English; this sense is in Middle French from 15c.
placate (v.)
1670s, a back-formation from placation or else from Latin placatus "soothed, quiet, gentle, calm, peaceful," past participle of placare "to calm, appease, quiet, soothe, assuage," related to placere "to please" (see please). Related: Placated; placating; placatingly.
placation (n.)
1580s, from French placation (16c.), from Latin placationem (nominative placatio) "an appeasing, pacifying, quieting," noun of action from past participle stem of placare (see placate).
placatory (adj.)
1630s, from Latin placatorius "pertaining to appeasing," from placat-, past participle stem of placare "to appease" (see placate).
place (n.)
c.1200, "space, dimensional extent, room, area," from Old French place "place, spot" (12c.) and directly from Medieval Latin placea "place, spot," from Latin platea "courtyard, open space; broad way, avenue," from Greek plateia (hodos) "broad (way)," fem. of platys "broad" (see plaice).

Replaced Old English stow and stede. From mid-13c. as "particular part of space, extent, definite location, spot, site;" from early 14c. as "position or place occupied by custom, etc.; position on some social scale;" from late 14c. as "inhabited place, town, country," also "place on the surface of something, portion of something, part," also, "office, post." Meaning "group of houses in a town" is from 1580s.

Also from the same Latin source are Italian piazza, Catalan plassa, Spanish plaza, Middle Dutch plaetse, Dutch plaats, German Platz, Danish plads, Norwegian plass. Wide application in English covers meanings that in French require three words: place, lieu, and endroit. Cognate Italian piazza and Spanish plaza retain more of the etymological sense.

To take place "happen" is from mid-15c. To know (one's) place is from c.1600; hence figurative expression put (someone) in his or her place (1855). Place of worship attested from 1689, originally in official papers and in reference to assemblies of dissenters from the Church of England. All over the place "in disorder" is attested from 1923.
place (v.)
mid-15c., "to determine the position of;" also "to put (something somewhere)," from place (n.). In the horse racing sense of "to achieve a certain position" (usually in the top three finishers; in U.S., specifically second place) it is first attested 1924, from earlier meaning "to state the position of" (among the first three finishers), 1826. Related: Placed; placing. To take place "to happen, be accomplished" (mid-15c., earlier have place, late 14c.), translates French avoir lieu.
place-holder (n.)
also placeholder, 1550s, from place (n.) + holder (n.).
place-kick (n.)
1845, originally in rugby, from place + kick (n.). Related: Place-kicking.
place-mat (n.)
1949, from place (n.) + mat (n.).
place-setting (n.)
1939, from place (n.) + setting (n.).
placebo (n.)
early 13c., name given to the rite of Vespers of the Office of the Dead, so called from the opening of the first antiphon, "I will please the Lord in the land of the living" (Psalm cxiv:9), from Latin placebo "I shall please," future indicative of placere "to please" (see please). Medical sense is first recorded 1785, "a medicine given more to please than to benefit the patient." Placebo effect attested from 1900.
placement (n.)
1835, from place (v.) + -ment.
placenta (n.)
1670s of plants, 1690s of mammals, from Modern Latin placenta uterina "uterine cake" (so called 16c. by Italian anatomist Realdo Colombo), from Latin placenta "a cake, flat cake," from Greek plakoenta, accusative of plakoeis "flat," related to plax (genitive plakos) "level surface, anything flat," from PIE *plak- (1) "to be flat" (cognates: Greek plakoeis "flat," Lettish plakt "to become flat," Old Norse flaga "layer of earth," Norwegian flag "open sea," Old English floh "piece of stone, fragment," Old High German fluoh "cliff"), extended form of root *pele- (2) "flat, to spread" (see plane (n.1)). So called from the shape.
placental (adj.)
1808, from Modern Latin placentalis, from placenta (see placenta).
placid (adj.)
1620s, from French placide (15c.) and directly from Latin placidus "pleasing, peaceful, quiet, gentle, still, calm," from placere "to please" (see please). Related: Placidly; placidness.
placidity (n.)
1610s, from Latin placiditatem (nominative placiditas), from placidus (see placid).
plagal (adj.)
1590s, from Medieval Latin plagalis, from plaga "the plagal mode," probably from plagius, from Medieval Greek plagius "plagal," in classical Greek "oblique," from plagos "side" (see plagio-).
plage (n.)
"a region," late 14c., from Old French plage (13c.), from Late Latin plagia "a plain, shore," noun use of adjective (plagia regio), from plaga "a region, stretch of country" (see pelagic). Astronomical sense is from 1949.
plagiarise (v.)
alternative (chiefly British) spelling of plagiarize. Related: Plagiarised; plagiarising.
plagiarism (n.)
1620s, from -ism + plagiary (n.) "plagiarist, literary thief" (1590s), from Latin plagiarius "kidnapper, seducer, plunderer, one who kidnaps the child or slave of another," used by Martial in the sense of "literary thief," from plagiare "to kidnap," plagium "kidnapping," from plaga "snare, hunting net," perhaps from PIE *plag- (on notion of "something extended"), from root *plak- (1) "to be flat" (see placenta).
plagiarist (n.)
1670s, from plagiary "plagiarist" (see plagiarism) + -ist. Related: Plagiaristic.
plagiarize (v.)
1716, from plagiary "plagiarist" (see plagiarism) + -ize. Related: Plagiarized; plagiarizing.
plagio-
before vowels plagi-, word-forming element meaning "slanting, oblique," from comb. form of Greek plagios "oblique, slanting," from plagos "side," from PIE *plag- "flat, spread," from *plak- (1) "to be flat" (see placenta).
plagioclase (n.)
"triclinic feldspar," 1868, from German, coined 1847 by German mineralogist Johann Friedrich August Breithaupt (1791-1873) from plagio- + Greek klasis "fracture," from stem of klan "to break" (see clastic). Related: Plagioclastic.
plague (n.)
late 14c., plage, "affliction, calamity, evil, scourge;" early 15c., "malignant disease," from Old French plage (14c.), from Late Latin plaga, used in Vulgate for "pestilence," from Latin plaga "stroke, wound," probably from root of plangere "to strike, lament (by beating the breast)," from or cognate with Greek (Doric) plaga "blow," from PIE *plak- (2) "to strike, to hit" (cognates: Greek plazein "to drive away," plessein "to beat, strike;" Old English flocan "to strike, beat;" Gothic flokan "to bewail;" German fluchen, Old Frisian floka "to curse").

The Latin word also is the source of Old Irish plag (genitive plaige) "plague, pestilence," German Plage, Dutch plaage. Meaning "epidemic that causes many deaths" is from 1540s; specifically in reference to bubonic plague from c.1600. Modern spelling follows French, which had plague from 15c. Weakened sense of "anything annoying" is from c.1600.