A small portion, amount, or allowance; also : a meager wage or remuneration. Pity and pittance share etymological roots. The Middle English word pittance came from Anglo-French pitance, meaning "pity" or "piety." Originally, a pittance was a gift or bequest to a religious community, or a small charitable gift. Ultimately, the word comes from the Latin pietas, meaning "piety" or "compassion." Our words pity and piety come from pietas as well.