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noun com·pas·sion \kəm-ˈpa-shən\

Simple Definition of compassion

  • : a feeling of wanting to help someone who is sick, hungry, in trouble, etc.

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of compassion

  1. :  sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it


play \-ləs\ adjective

Examples of compassion in a sentence

  1. Take away all the qualities that make for a genuinely good father—wisdom, compassion, even temper, selflessness—and what you have left is Homer Simpson with his pure, mindless, dogged devotion to his family. —Paul A. Cantor, Gilligan Unbound, 2001

  2. … he read every “doctor book” he could reach … , learning fine secrets and curing us with steams and fruit compotes and dexterous rubs and, above all, with bedside compassion. —Gwendolyn Brooks, Booklist, 15 Oct. 1993

  3. The novel addresses at every point in its structural edifice, and lingers over in every fissure, the slave's body and personality: the way it speaks, what passion legal or illicit it is prey to, what pain it can endure, what limits, if any, there are to its suffering, what possibilities there are for forgiveness, compassion, love. —Toni Morrison, Playing In The Dark, 1992

  4. I can't write songs about what's wrong with a country that seems to lack compassion for pain and suffering … —Bonnie Raitt, quoted in Entertainment Weekly, 23 Aug. 1991

  5. Like the best of the new detectives, V. I. and Kinsey, she is a woman of wit and gravity, compassion and toughness, a heroine worth spending time with. —Susan Isaacs, New York Times Book Review, 3 Nov. 1991

  6. He felt compassion for the lost child.

  7. She shows compassion to the sick.

  8. She had the compassion to offer help when it was needed most.

Origin and Etymology of compassion

Middle English, from Anglo-French or Late Latin; Anglo-French, from Late Latin compassion-, compassio, from compati to sympathize, from Latin com- + pati to bear, suffer — more at patient

First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of compassion

pity, compassion, commiseration, condolence, sympathy mean the act or capacity for sharing the painful feelings of another. pity implies tender or sometimes slightly contemptuous sorrow for one in misery or distress <felt pity for the captives>. compassion implies pity coupled with an urgent desire to aid or to spare <treats the homeless with great compassion>. commiseration suggests pity expressed outwardly in exclamations, tears, or words of comfort <murmurs of commiseration filled the loser's headquarters>. condolence applies chiefly to formal expression of grief to one who has suffered loss <expressed their condolences to the widow>. sympathy often suggests a tender concern but can also imply a power to enter into another's emotional experience of any sort <went to my best friend for sympathy> <in sympathy with her desire to locate her natural parents>.

COMPASSION Defined for Kids


noun com·pas·sion \kəm-ˈpa-shən\

Definition of compassion for Students

  1. :  pity for and a desire to help someone

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