com·​pas·​sion·​ate | \ kəm-ˈpa-sh(ə-)nət How to pronounce compassionate (audio) \

Definition of compassionate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : having or showing compassion : sympathetic a compassionate friend a compassionate smile
2 : 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.


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

Definition of compassionate (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

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

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Other Words from compassionate


compassionately adverb
compassionateness noun

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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Many who — rightly — want to be compassionate toward those diagnosed with gender dysphoria have been reluctant to challenge the demands of transgender activists. Nathanael Blake, National Review, 10 June 2021 There are movies that are compassionate toward disability, and movies that aren’t. Elle Carroll, Vulture, 20 May 2021 Why does there seem to be so many people rooting against Tebow — one of the most caring, compassionate, benevolent, big-hearted, philanthropic, altruistic role models in the history of sports? Mike Bianchi,, 22 May 2021 The best way to describe Kris is feisty, witty, direct, compassionate, and definitely spot on for injury diagnosis and treatment. Kyle Neddenriep, The Indianapolis Star, 8 May 2021 Fellow first-grade teacher Tracie Culpepper described Correia as a compassionate, dedicated and natural teacher. NBC News, 6 Apr. 2021 Retaining and attracting the talented board and staff drawn to the work of nonprofits during more uncertain and stressful times will require more caring and compassionate leaders who are masters in developing supportive organizational climates. Christopher Washington, Forbes, 17 Mar. 2021 Fern, however, is a fictional character, sutured into the landscape by Zhao and McDormand to be our compassionate, dryly humorous, Shakespeare-reciting guide to the nomadic world. Wilfred Chan, Vulture, 22 Feb. 2021 Iverson described the family as good, genuine, caring and compassionate people and urged others to say prayers for the lost family and the youngest boy. Tess Williams, Anchorage Daily News, 4 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb He was recognized by Duke as being a competitor on the field and compassionate off it. J.c. Carnahan,, 16 Dec. 2020 At age 49, the Juilliard graduate, who can easily transform from menacing mob boss to compassionate father with a mere expression change, is having the kind of year an actor can only dream about. Nicole Sperling, HWD, 12 Dec. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'compassionate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of compassionate


1579, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1592, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for compassionate


see compassion


see compassion

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Learn More About compassionate

Time Traveler for compassionate

Time Traveler

The first known use of compassionate was in 1579

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Statistics for compassionate

Last Updated

13 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Compassionate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for compassionate



English Language Learners Definition of compassionate

: feeling or showing concern for someone who is sick, hurt, poor, etc. : having or showing compassion


com·​pas·​sion·​ate | \ kəm-ˈpa-shə-nət How to pronounce compassionate (audio) \

Kids Definition of compassionate

: having or showing pity for and desire to help someone


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