sympathetic

adjective
sym·​pa·​thet·​ic | \ˌsim-pə-ˈthe-tik \

Definition of sympathetic 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : existing or operating through an affinity, interdependence, or mutual association

2a : appropriate to one's mood, inclinations, or disposition

b : marked by kindly or pleased appreciation the biographer's approach was sympathetic

3 : given to, marked by, or arising from sympathy, compassion, friendliness, and sensitivity to others' emotions a sympathetic gesture

4 : favorably inclined : approving not sympathetic to the idea

5a : showing empathy

b : arousing sympathy or compassion a sympathetic role in the play

6a : of or relating to the sympathetic nervous system

b : mediated by or acting on the sympathetic nerves

7 : relating to musical tones produced by sympathetic vibration or to strings so tuned as to sound by sympathetic vibration

sympathetic

noun

Definition of sympathetic (Entry 2 of 2)

: a sympathetic structure especially : sympathetic nervous system

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from sympathetic

Adjective

sympathetically \ˌsim-​pə-​ˈthe-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē \ adverb

Examples of sympathetic in a Sentence

Adjective

He received much help from sympathetic friends. I didn't find the hero in the movie very sympathetic.

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

This game’s central band of outlaws is sympathetic at times but never blameless. Daniel Starkey, Ars Technica, "Red Dead Redemption II review: Getting muddy in the wide-open frontier," 25 Oct. 2018 So, having one character represent that lifestyle or that storyline is just going to allow kids to either identify naturally or learn how to be sympathetic and empathetic toward their friends who are going through something. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "Alyson Stoner is All Grown Up and She Wants Disney To Grow Up, Too," 14 Sep. 2018 Fred is a judgmental jerk to Eden’s father, while Serena is gentle and sympathetic to Mr. Spencer. Rena Gross, Billboard, "'The Handmaid's Tale': Season 2, Episode 13 Recap: 19 Startling Moments in 'The Word'," 11 July 2018 The arson crime carried a minimum prison sentence of five years, but a sympathetic federal judge, on his last day before retirement, decided the penalty was too stiff and gave the father and son much lighter prison terms. Jill Colvin And Zeke Miller, chicagotribune.com, "Trump pardons ranchers in case that inspired 2016 occupation of national wildlife refuge in Oregon," 10 July 2018 The arson crime carried a minimum prison sentence of five years, but a sympathetic federal judge, on his last day before retirement, decided the penalty was too stiff and gave the father and son much lighter prison terms. CBS News, "Trump pardons Hammond ranchers in case that inspired 2016 Oregon militia occupation," 10 July 2018 The arson crime carried a minimum prison sentence of five years, but a sympathetic federal judge, on his last day before retirement, decided the penalty was too stiff and gave the father and son much lighter prison terms. Author: Jill Colvin, Zeke Miller, Anchorage Daily News, "Trump pardons Oregon ranchers in case that inspired 2016 wildlife refuge occupation in Oregon," 10 July 2018 Comedy involving sympathetic werewolf, vampire, ancient Egyptian princess brought to life, lonely British Lord named Edgar, his new wife, her snooty maid and other macabre and madcap characters. Rasputin Todd, Cincinnati.com, "Things to do in Cincinnati this week: July 9-15," 9 July 2018 The Trump administration has wrung an impressive amount of sympathetic press from a handful of uncomfortable public encounters. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Stephen Miller Owned the Libs by Throwing Away His Own Sushi," 9 July 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of sympathetic

Adjective

1644, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1808, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for sympathetic

Adjective

New Latin sympatheticus, from Latin sympathia sympathy

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about sympathetic

Share sympathetic

Statistics for sympathetic

Last Updated

7 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sympathetic

The first known use of sympathetic was in 1644

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for sympathetic

sympathetic

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of sympathetic

: feeling or showing concern about someone who is in a bad situation : having or showing feelings of sympathy

: having or showing support for or approval of something

: having pleasant or appealing qualities : causing feelings of sympathy

sympathetic

adjective
sym·​pa·​thet·​ic | \ˌsim-pə-ˈthe-tik \

Kids Definition of sympathetic

1 : feeling or showing care or understanding I received help from sympathetic friends.

2 : feeling favorable They're not sympathetic to the idea.

Other Words from sympathetic

sympathetically \-​ti-​kə-​lē \ adverb She listened sympathetically.

sympathetic

adjective
sym·​pa·​thet·​ic | \ˌsim-pə-ˈthet-ik \

Medical Definition of sympathetic 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of or relating to the sympathetic nervous system

2 : mediated by or acting on the sympathetic nerves

Other Words from sympathetic

sympathetically \-​i-​k(ə-​)lē \ adverb

sympathetic

noun

Medical Definition of sympathetic (Entry 2 of 2)

: a sympathetic structure especially : sympathetic nervous system

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on sympathetic

What made you want to look up sympathetic? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

the figure or shape of a crescent moon

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!