sympathetic

adjective
sym·​pa·​thet·​ic | \ ˌsim-pə-ˈthe-tik How to pronounce sympathetic (audio) \

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

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Other Words from sympathetic

Adjective

sympathetically \ ˌsim-​pə-​ˈthe-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce sympathetically (audio) \ 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 Many in town, like Meletiou, are sympathetic to the migrants’ plight, even as more arrived this summer by boat from Turkey. Jason Horowitz, BostonGlobe.com, "The scenic isle where the world’s chaos comes home to roost," 8 Feb. 2020 Many in town, like Mr. Meletiou, are sympathetic to the migrants’ plight, even as more arrived this summer by boat from Turkey. Jason Horowitz, New York Times, "On a Greek Island, Migrants and Locals Are Wary Neighbors," 7 Feb. 2020 The Massachusetts risk management professional hoped that Trump’s negative attacks could make voters sympathetic to Biden. Emily Larsen, Washington Examiner, "Biden supporters fret over his ability to withstand Trump attacks," 27 Jan. 2020 The Justice Department has charged a former Virginia college student with calling in fake emergencies to prompt law enforcement responses, in coordination with a group the FBI labelled as sympathetic to neo-Nazi ideology. CBS News, "Teen charged in online SWATing ring feds link to neo-Nazis," 14 Jan. 2020 There is such a thing as a narrator that’s too sympathetic. Kerry Elson Kiki O’keeffe Ysabel Yates, The New Yorker, "An Editor’s Feedback on Your Out-Sick E-mail," 17 Dec. 2019 Director Rupert Goold, working from a screenplay by Tom Edge, does a terrific job of telling Garland’s tale in an evenhanded manner that’s sympathetic but still faithful to the facts. Ross Raihala, Twin Cities, "‘Judy’ is a terrific, if devastating, look at Judy Garland just months before her death," 25 Sep. 2019 But some jurors may be sympathetic to his arguments. David Remnick, The New Yorker, "Ronan Farrow on What the Harvey Weinstein Trial Could Mean for the #MeToo Movement," 13 Jan. 2020 Montali was sympathetic to the position of the victims’ lawyers. J.d. Morris, SFChronicle.com, "Judge OKs $13.5 billion PG&E settlement with fire victims’ lawyers," 17 Dec. 2019

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for sympathetic

Time Traveler

The first known use of sympathetic was in 1644

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Statistics for sympathetic

Last Updated

16 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sympathetic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sympathetic. Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for sympathetic

sympathetic

adjective
How to pronounce sympathetic (audio)

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 How to pronounce sympathetic (audio) \

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 How to pronounce sympathetic (audio) \

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 How to pronounce sympathetically (audio) \ adverb

sympathetic

noun

Medical Definition of sympathetic (Entry 2 of 2)

: a sympathetic structure especially : sympathetic nervous system

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Comments on sympathetic

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