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com·​pas·​sion·​ate kəm-ˈpa-sh(ə-)nət How to pronounce compassionate (audio)
: having or showing compassion : sympathetic
a compassionate friend
a compassionate smile
: granted because of unusual distressing circumstances affecting an individual
used of some military privileges (such as leave)
The soldier was granted compassionate leave following the death of his father.
compassionately adverb
compassionateness noun


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com·​pas·​sion·​ate kəm-ˈpa-shə-ˌnāt How to pronounce compassionate (audio)
compassionated; compassionating

transitive verb

: pity
… even compassionating those who hold in bondage their fellow men …John Quincy Adams

Examples of compassionate in a Sentence

Adjective a compassionate person by nature a compassionate smile made the refugees feel a little better Verb a gentle soul who could compassionate even the most reprobate of scoundrels and villains
Recent Examples on the Web
Biden does better on being personally liked, on being compassionate. CBS News, 9 June 2024 Lockett, intrigued and compassionate, scrolled through his posts, learning quickly exactly what that meant. Claire Sibonney, TIME, 4 June 2024
Yet while 67% of white people who are eligible for PrEP are on it, only 8% eligible Black people are, often citing lack of access to healthcare or to compassionate healthcare. Annalisa Merelli, Quartz, 20 Apr. 2023 He was recognized by Duke as being a competitor on the field and compassionate off it. J.c. Carnahan,, 16 Dec. 2020 See all Example Sentences for compassionate 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'compassionate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



see compassion


see compassion

First Known Use


1579, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1592, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of compassionate was in 1579

Dictionary Entries Near compassionate

Cite this Entry

“Compassionate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jun. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on compassionate

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