pity (n.)

mid-13c., pite, "compassion, kindness, generosity of spirit;" c. 1300 "disposition to mercy, quality of being merciful," also "a feeling of sympathy and compassion aroused by the sorrow or suffering of another," 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.

It is some comfort to receive commiseration or condolence ; it gives one strength to receive sympathy from a loving heart ; it is irksome to need compassion ; it galls us to be pitied. [Century Dictionary, 1895]

Middle English pity also could mean "devout obedience to God" (mid-14c.), and pity and piety were not fully distinguished until 17c. Transferred sense of "grounds or cause for pity, matter or source of grief or regret" is from late 14c.

pity (v.)

late 15c., pitien, "to feel pity for," from Old French pitier and from pity (n.). Meaning "excite pity in" is attested from 1510s, frequent 16c.-17c., in use as late as 1835, but now obsolete. Related: Pitied; pitying.

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Definitions of pity from WordNet
pity (n.)
a feeling of sympathy and sorrow for the misfortunes of others;
the blind are too often objects of pity
Synonyms: commiseration / ruth / pathos
pity (n.)
an unfortunate development;
it's a pity he couldn't do it
Synonyms: shame
pity (n.)
the humane quality of understanding the suffering of others and wanting to do something about it;
Synonyms: compassion
pity (v.)
share the suffering of;
Synonyms: feel for / compassionate / condole with / sympathize with