[ sim-puh-thee ]
/ ˈsɪm pə θi /

noun, plural sym·pa·thies.


expressing sympathy: a sympathy card; a sympathy vote.

Origin of sympathy

1560–70; < Latin sympathīa < Greek sympátheia, equivalent to sympathe-, stem of sympathḗs sympathetic ( sym- sym- + páth(os) suffering, sensation + -ēs adj. suffix) + -ia -y3


1 concord, understanding, rapport, affinity. Sympathy, compassion, pity, empathy all denote the tendency, practice, or capacity to share in the feelings of others, especially their distress, sorrow, or unfulfilled desires. Sympathy is the broadest of these terms, signifying a general kinship with another's feelings, no matter of what kind: in sympathy with her yearning for peace and freedom; to extend sympathy to the bereaved. Compassion implies a deep sympathy for the sorrows or troubles of another coupled to a powerful urge to alleviate the pain or distress or to remove its source: to show compassion for homeless refugees. Pity usually suggests a kindly, but sometimes condescending, sorrow aroused by the suffering or ill fortune of others, often leading to a show of mercy: tears of pity for war casualties; to have pity on a thief driven by hunger. Empathy most often refers to a vicarious participation in the emotions, ideas, or opinions of others, the ability to imagine oneself in the condition or predicament of another: empathy with those striving to improve their lives; to feel empathy with Hamlet as one watches the play.


non·sym·pa·thy, noun, plural non·sym·pa·thies. pre·sym·pa·thy, noun su·per·sym·pa·thy, noun, plural su·per·sym·pa·thies.


empathy sympathy (see synonym study at the current entry)

Example sentences from the Web for sympathy

British Dictionary definitions for sympathy

/ (ˈsɪmpəθɪ) /

noun plural -thies

the sharing of another's emotions, esp of sorrow or anguish; pity; compassion
an affinity or harmony, usually of feelings or interests, between persons or things to be in sympathy with someone
mutual affection or understanding arising from such a relationship; congeniality
the condition of a physical system or body when its behaviour is similar or corresponds to that of a different system that influences it, such as the vibration of sympathetic strings
(sometimes plural) a feeling of loyalty, support, or accord, as for an idea, cause, etc
physiol the mutual relationship between two organs or parts whereby a change in one has an effect on the other

Word Origin for sympathy

C16: from Latin sympathīa, from Greek sumpatheia, from sumpathēs, from syn- + pathos suffering

Medical definitions for sympathy

[ sĭmpə-thē ]


A relation between parts or organs by which a disease or disorder in one induces an effect in the other.
Mental contagion, as in yawning induced by seeing another person yawn.
Mutual understanding or affection arising from a relationship or an affinity, in which whatever affects one correspondingly affects the other.