noun com·pas·sion \kəm-ˈpa-shən\

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

Full Definition of COMPASSION

:  sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it
com·pas·sion·less \-ləs\ adjective

Examples of COMPASSION

  1. He felt compassion for the lost child.
  2. She shows compassion to the sick.
  3. She had the compassion to offer help when it was needed most.
  4. 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


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>.


noun com·pas·sion \kəm-ˈpa-shən\

Definition of COMPASSION for Kids

:  pity for and a desire to help someone


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