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

Prosecutors noted that Dassey's mother gave investigators permission to speak with him, that Dassey agreed as well and that during the interview investigators used only standard techniques such as adopting a sympathetic tone and encouraging honesty. Crimesider Staff, CBS News, "Supreme Court declines to hear case of "Making a Murderer" subject Brendan Dassey," 25 June 2018 Everyone has blood on their hands in this show, even sympathetic heroic types like Maeve. Joanna Robinson, HWD, "Westworld Season 3—Everything We Know So Far," 25 June 2018 Arty is expecting me to respond with sympathetic disapproval. Joseph O’neill, The New Yorker, "The First World," 21 June 2018 Under the late King Abdullah, Turkey and Saudi Arabia had clashed repeatedly over Ankara’s sympathetic views of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist movement Saudi Arabia considers a terrorist organization. Summer Said, WSJ, "Trump to Navigate Tense Turkish-Saudi Rivalry at G-20," 29 Nov. 2018 Viewers are less likely to help others, feel sympathetic toward victims, and express empathy. Scott Glassman, Philly.com, "Is it time to look away? Health effects of watching violence in the media," 14 Mar. 2018 Author Michael Wolff’s pitch to the White House to win cooperation for his book included a working title that signaled a sympathetic view, a counter-narrative to a slew of negative news stories early in Donald Trump’s presidency. Fortune, "How Michael Wolff Got Access to Trump's White House for 'Fire and Fury' Tell-All Book," 17 Jan. 2018 Author Michael Wolff’s pitch to the White House to win cooperation for his book included a working title that signaled a sympathetic view, a counter-narrative to a slew of negative news stories early in Donald Trump’s presidency. Jennifer Jacobs / Bloomberg, Time, "How Fire and Fury Author Michael Wolff Got Into Donald Trump's White House," 17 Jan. 2018 The global impact Snowden critics, and even some more sympathetic with his cause, continue to question whether those changes justify the scope of Snowden's document dump. Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "The Snowden Legacy, part one: What’s changed, really?," 21 Nov. 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.

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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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Statistics for sympathetic

Last Updated

2 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sympathetic

The first known use of sympathetic was in 1644

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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 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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