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 sympathetic (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 Kabb-Effron was among those who felt the Village Council should have been more sympathetic to the Akbens. Peter Krouse, cleveland, "Wayward chickens and a radical recall campaign: big problems for one of Cuyahoga County’s tiniest communities," 8 Feb. 2021 The incoming Biden administration and Democratic control of the U.S. Senate is likely to be more sympathetic to the environmental groups. Mohamed Ibrahim, Star Tribune, "Minnesota lawmakers introduce anti-copper mining legislation," 14 Jan. 2021 It is said that a donkey carried Francis up the mountainside at La Verna — hence Bellini’s donkey in the middle ground, with its sympathetic eyes and gangly, girlish legs. Washington Post, "The drama is in the details," 13 Jan. 2021 In real life, Bracco is more sympathetic to the bond between Italian-Americans and their ancestors. Carrie Battan, The New Yorker, "Lorraine Bracco Bought an Italian Villa, but She Can’t Escape “The Sopranos”," 11 Dec. 2020 But polls indicate that the British public is more sympathetic. Mark Landler, New York Times, "England to Shut Pubs, Restaurants and Most Shops as Virus Surges," 31 Oct. 2020 Some banks are reluctant to meet the demand, while others are more sympathetic, the people said, asking not to be identified as the deliberations are confidential. Kerim Karakaya, Bloomberg.com, "Turkish Power Producer Seeks Lower Rates on $3.9 Billion of Debt," 15 Oct. 2020 While sympathetic to the family's motivations, Sgt. Liz Sawyer, Star Tribune, "Murder charges pending for suspect in St. Paul triple homicide," 1 Feb. 2021 The incoming Biden administration, however, is seen as sympathetic to the changes and unlikely to reverse them. Lev Facher, STAT, "Trump administration will let nearly all doctors prescribe addiction medicine buprenorphine," 14 Jan. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Agudath Israel is appealing the case to the Supreme Court, which gained a jurist sympathetic to religious liberty arguments when Barrett was appointed. Shira Hanau, sun-sentinel.com, "Orthodox group takes fight against restrictions on synagogues to Supreme Court," 18 Nov. 2020 Israel is pushing forward with controversial plans to develop a Jewish enclave in a strategic area of East Jerusalem, in the waning days of a Trump administration sympathetic to Israeli settlement activity. Ivan Levingston, Bloomberg.com, "Israel Advances Building in East Jerusalem Before Trump Exit," 15 Nov. 2020 For instance, accounts sympathetic to Diana at the time stressed her despair over Charles’s infidelity while conveniently eliding her own adulterous adventures. Sarah Lyall, New York Times, "‘The Crown’ Has Had Its Scandals, but There’s Nothing Like Diana," 12 Nov. 2020 As the war in Syria raged, he was widely accused of appearing sympathetic with President Bashar al-Assad, even as the Syrian dictator shelled his own citizens and killed tens of thousands, including allegedly with chemical weapons. Michelle Toh, CNN, "Robert Fisk, the journalist who interviewed bin Laden, dies at 74," 2 Nov. 2020 Though Rittenhouse was later charged with homicide, Trump has defended his actions, and NBC News has reported that Department of Homeland Security officials were directed to make public comments sympathetic to Rittenhouse. Luke Mogelson, The New Yorker, "In the Streets with Antifa," 25 Oct. 2020 With a majority of justices on the court sympathetic to these theories of constitutional interpretation, textualist and originalist amicus briefs are likely to be particularly effective. Paul M. Collins, The Conversation, "How conservative groups will advance their agendas before a Supreme Court with Amy Coney Barrett," 19 Oct. 2020 Carl Chan, head of the Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, said the history of discrimination against residents of Chinese descent has made the community sympathetic to the Black Lives Matter movement and its call for changes in the police force. Washington Post, "Protesters want to defund police. Homicides and violence are spiking. In Oakland, ideology and practicality collide.," 7 Oct. 2020 Another question is being asked by some of those sympathetic to Johnson but concerned for him: Who is looking out for him? Tom Mctague, The Atlantic, "The Unsinkable Boris Johnson," 6 Oct. 2020

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

4 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sympathetic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sympathetic. Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

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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 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 sympathetic (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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