Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Wikipedia.


Pity for oneself, especially exaggerated or self-indulgent pity.

self′-pit′y·ing adj.
self′-pit′y·ing·ly adv.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


the act or state of pitying oneself, esp in an exaggerated or self-indulgent manner
ˌself-ˈpitying adj
ˌself-ˈpityingly adv
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


pity for oneself, esp. a self-indulgent attitude concerning one's own difficulties.
self`-pit′ying, adj.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.



crying towel An imaginary towel offered to the kind of person who chronically complains about ill fortune, minor defeats, or other adversities. The phrase can be used teasingly or judg-mentally, implying that one who needs a “crying towel” is unnecessarily wallowing in self-pity.

cry in one’s beer To overindulge in self-pity; to be inappropriately sentimental or maudlin; to feel sorry for one-self. This expression probably derives from the fact that many people tend to become sentimental, even teary-eyed, after a few drinks. The result of such self-indulgence is often sloppy behavior and a loose tongue.

cry on [someone’s] shoulder To reveal one’s problems to another person in order to get sympathy; to assail someone’s ear with one’s woes in an attempt to win pity or to get moral support. Although the image is of a distraught person literally crying in another person’s arms, the expression is usually used hyperbolically and sometimes with a sarcastic edge undercutting the seriousness or gravity of the situation.

eat one’s heart To suffer inconsolably; to have sorrow or longing dominate one’s thoughts and feelings; to be in a constant state of mental and emotional disquietude. Spenser used this expression in The Fairie Queene (1596):

He could not rest; but did his stout heart eat.

More common today is the expression eat one’s heart out. It is often heard as a playfully sarcastic command, very different in tone from the earlier serious version of the expression.


Picturesque Expressions: A Thematic Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1980 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.self-pity - a feeling of sorrow (often self-indulgent) over your own sufferings
sorrow - an emotion of great sadness associated with loss or bereavement; "he tried to express his sorrow at her loss"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


[ˌselfˈpɪtɪ] Nautocompasión f
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


[ˌsɛlfˈpɪtɪ] nautocommiserazione f
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995
References in classic literature ?
His days were filled with morbid self-pity, which eventually engendered in his weak and vacillating mind a hatred for those who had sent him here--for the very men he had at first inwardly thanked for saving him from the ignominy of degradation.
In the end he de- cided that he was simply old beyond his years and not at all a subject for self-pity. "I'm made to go to work.
"I love you, Tom," she said, "only you." Tears came to my eyes then, not tears of self-pity for my predicament, but tears from a heart filled with a great love--a heart that sees the sun of its life and its love setting even as it rises.
Then a dampness came into Ebbits's eyes, and I knew that the sorrow of self-pity was his.
He squatted by the white wall, the mind rummaging among the incidents of the long dooli journey, the lama's weaknesses, and, now that the stimulus of talk was removed, his own self-pity, of which, like the sick, he had great store.
"It would be too simplistic to expect Charles have been displaying open signals of regret or self-pity as he married his 'duty' bride at his first wedding under the watchful eye of his mistress sitting in the pews and relief and open delight at his second, when he finally went down the 'selfish' route and finally got hitched by the woman he loved," James said.
Ayoko nang magalit at mag self pity (I don't want to get angry or wallow in self-pity).
'Its bad luck Bob,' he said his voice full of self-pity. I tried to shake him out of his despair but gave up when I realized he didn't have the inclination or will to get on his feet again.
Thaha never succumbed to self-pity, but instead braved the odds and made a living for himself using social media as his tool.
Does this movement truly see compassion for the unborn as self-pity?
Born with a rare genetic disorder, she discovered at 17 that her image had been featured in a viral video titled "The Ugliest Woman in the World." Instead of reacting with anger or self-pity, she stood up for victims, established herself as a YouTube star, and became a renowned motivational speaker.
"It was a crime driven by your extraordinary selfishness and selfobsession fuelled by self-pity.