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

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
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Gass was granted compassionate release in 2019 for medical reasons and had moved in with his parents in Frederick, police said. Jasmine Hilton, Washington Post, 8 Aug. 2022 On Thursday, more than a year after he had been admitted to the hospital, he was given a compassionate release and transferred to a different part of the hospital. Teri Figueroa, San Diego Union-Tribune, 22 July 2022 Dancing it up — while the kids were under close, compassionate supervision in the Oceaneer’s Club — at Evolution nightclub. Mark Gauert, Sun Sentinel, 18 May 2022 The cases appeared to match three Covid-era rulings by the judge under a compassionate release law. New York Times, 21 Mar. 2022 Michelle Kaehler, her aunt, chastised those who believe Gorospe was at fault for being compassionate. CBS News, 13 July 2022 Michelle Kaehler, her aunt, chastised those who believe Gorospe was at fault for being compassionate. Felicia Fonseca And Terry Tang, The Arizona Republic, 12 July 2022 Today, empathy as a concept is getting a lot of attention, and that is great because being empathetic is a precursor to being compassionate. Sanja Licina, Forbes, 15 June 2022 It has been lauded for its compassionate portrayal of both sides of the relationship. Gracie Anderson, Smithsonian Magazine, 3 Sep. 2021 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 See More

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.

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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Time Traveler for compassionate

Time Traveler

The first known use of compassionate was in 1579

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Dictionary Entries Near compassionate



compassionate leave

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Statistics for compassionate

Last Updated

12 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Compassionate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for compassionate


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

More from Merriam-Webster on compassionate

Nglish: Translation of compassionate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of compassionate for Arabic Speakers


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