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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Others, though, seemed sympathetic to Jo's struggles. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'Grey's Anatomy' Fans Are EXPLODING Over What Happened With Jo and Alex," 19 Apr. 2019 And some swing voters, wary at the prospect of endless investigations and talk of impeachment, may prove more sympathetic to the president. Zeke Miller, The Seattle Times, "Mueller report reprieve becomes Trump’s re-election weapon," 25 Mar. 2019 Richard is a much more sympathetic figure, because the core of his tyrannical soul is shaped from his very birth by physical deformity and social rejection. Andrew Sullivan, Daily Intelligencer, "Obama’s Legacy Has Already Been Destroyed," 18 May 2018 And before denigrating the restaurant in the public forum of social media, Will's sister might have been more sympathetic the restaurant's perspective. Michael K. Mcintyre, cleveland.com, "A food allergy, a harsh Yelp review, and a recipe for bad feelings: Michael K. McIntyre," 18 Feb. 2018 Though attitudes to Woods range from infuriated (Khloé Kardashian) to sympathetic (Lena Dunham) and confused (much of Twitter), the episode of RTT was warm and empathetic towards the (ex?) best friend of Kylie Jenner. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "How Jada Pinkett Smith Counseled Jordyn Woods During Their Interview," 1 Mar. 2019 But, according to Diana, the Queen was less than sympathetic. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Inside Queen Elizabeth and Princess Diana's Highly Complicated Relationship," 22 Sep. 2018 From a different angle, Jack's aunt, Leona, serves as the sympathetic parent Annie missed in her own alcoholic mother. Special To The Oregonian, OregonLive.com, "In 'All Coyote's Children,' eastern Oregon author links family, land, loss and culture," 4 June 2018 The original witch’s revisionist history is wildly imaginative escapism on an epic-poetic scale — yeah, your favorite thing — but Miller’s sympathetic approach will pull at your heartstrings, too. Mary Sollosi, EW.com, "Find out your pop culture horoscope for April," 12 Apr. 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

Statistics for sympathetic

Last Updated

27 Apr 2019

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 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

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

one that collects or salvages junk

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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!