Examples of empathy in a Sentence
- Poetic empathy understandably seeks a strategy of identification with victims … —Helen Vendler, New Republic, 5 May 2003
- This is tough love with a vengeance, but what a gruesome view of God's saints bereft of all empathy. —Sidney Callahan, Commonweal, 19 Apr. 2002
- Enter a new inmate … a giant black man with a gift of preternatural empathy; he can literally suck the pain out of people. —Richard Corliss, Time, 13 Dec. 1999
- But in all those years of young womanhood, my Do-Unto-Others empathy never extended beyond sharing a trolley seat. —Lois Mark Stalvey, The Education of a WASP, 1989
He felt great empathy with the poor.
His months spent researching prison life gave him greater empathy towards convicts.
Recent Examples of empathy from the Web
It’s easier to love people and be kind to myself if empathy comes before theology.
Couples therapy helps people feel heard and express empathy.
Selis and Intravaia sang several songs and educated their young audiences on musical concepts like tempo, rhythm, major and minor chords, as well as broader concepts like empathy.
That’s almost in spite of the film as a whole, which doesn’t linger with any of the other hardscrabble homeowners long enough solicit meaningful empathy.
In forcing us to listen, podcasts compel us to focus, and move us to recruit our imaginations — where empathy comes from.
Which is notable, given that the movie is directed by Jim Loach, son of Ken, who’s made a career of movies in the U.K. that examine the working class with great nuance and empathy.
Curtis Sittenfeld has a keen ear for insidiously withering remarks and an abiding empathy for their vulnerable targets.
At his February listening session, Trump was holding a piece of paper with notes, ostensibly reminding him to express empathy.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'empathy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
sympathy vs. empathy
Sympathy and empathy are closely related words, bound by shared origins and the similar circumstances in which each is applicable, yet they are not synonymous. For one thing, sympathy is considerably older that empathy, having existed in our language for several hundred years before its cousin was introduced, and its greater age is reflected in a wider breadth of meaning. Sympathy may refer to "feelings of loyalty" or "unity or harmony in action or effect," meanings not shared by empathy. In the contexts where the two words do overlap, sympathy implies sharing (or having the capacity to share) the feelings of another, while empathy tends to be used to mean imagining, or having the capacity to imagine, feelings that one does not actually have.
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
Did You Know?
In the 19th century, Charles Dickens counted on producing an empathetic response in his readers strong enough to make them buy the next newspaper installment of each novel. Today, when reading a novel such as A Tale of Two Cities, only the most hard-hearted reader could fail to feel empathy for Sidney Carton as he approaches the guillotine. One who empathizes suffers along with the one who feels the sensations directly. Empathy is similar to sympathy, but empathy usually suggests stronger, more instinctive feeling. So a person who feels sympathy, or pity, for victims of a war in Asia may feel empathy for a close friend going through the much smaller disaster of a divorce.
EMPATHY Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of empathy for English Language Learners
: the feeling that you understand and share another person's experiences and emotions : the ability to share someone else's feelings
EMPATHY Defined for Kids
medical Definition of empathy
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up empathy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).