Examples of compassion in a sentence
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
… 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
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
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
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
He felt compassion for the lost child.
She shows compassion to the sick.
She had the compassion to offer help when it was needed most.
What is the difference between empathy and compassion?
Some of our users are interested in the difference between empathy and compassion. Compassion is the broader word: it refers to both an understanding of another’s pain and the desire to somehow mitigate that pain:
Our rationalizations for lying (or withholding the truth)—"to protect her," "he could never handle it”—come more out of cowardice than compassion.
— Eric Utne, Utne Reader, November/December 1992
Sometimes compassion is used to refer broadly to sympathetic understanding:
Nevertheless, when Robert Paxton's "Vichy France" appeared in a French translation in 1973, his stark and devastating description ... was rather badly received in France, where many critics accused this scrupulous and thoughtful young historian either of misinterpreting the Vichy leaders' motives or of lacking compassion.
— Stanley Hoffmann, The New York Times Book Review, 1 Nov. 1981
Empathy refers to the ability to relate to another person’s pain vicariously, as if one has experienced that pain themselves:
For instance, people who are highly egoistic and presumably lacking in empathy keep their own welfare paramount in making moral decisions like how or whether to help the poor.
— Daniel Goleman, The New York Times, 28 Mar. 1989
"The man thought all this talk was fine, but he was more concerned with just getting water. And, if I was going to be successful on this mission, I had to remember what his priorities were. The quality you need most in United Nations peacekeeping is empathy."
— Geordie Elms, quoted in MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History, Autumn 1992
In some cases, compassion refers to both a feeling and the action that stems from that feeling:
Compassion, tenderness, patience, responsibility, kindness, and honesty are actions that elicit similar responses from others.
— Jane Smiley, Harper’s, June 2000
while empathy tends to be used just for a feeling:
She is also autistic, a disability that she argues allows her a special empathy with nonhuman creatures.
— Tim Flannery, The New York Review of Books, 29 April 2009
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
COMPASSION Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of compassion for English Language Learners
: a feeling of wanting to help someone who is sick, hungry, in trouble, etc.
COMPASSION Defined for Kids
Definition of compassion for Students
: pity for and a desire to help someone
Seen and Heard
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