1

sympathetic

adjective sym·pa·thet·ic \ ˌsim-pə-ˈthe-tik \
Updated on: 12 Dec 2017

Definition of sympathetic

1 : existing or operating through an affinity, interdependence, or mutual association
2 a : 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
5 a : showing empathy
b : arousing sympathy or compassion
  • a sympathetic role in the play
6 a : 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

sympathetically

play \-ti-k(ə-)lē\ adverb

Examples of sympathetic in a Sentence

  1. He received much help from sympathetic friends.

  2. I didn't find the hero in the movie very sympathetic.

Recent Examples of sympathetic from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of sympathetic

New Latin sympatheticus, from Latin sympathia sympathy


2

sympathetic

noun

Definition of sympathetic

: a sympathetic structure; especially : sympathetic nervous system

First Known Use of sympathetic

1808


SYMPATHETIC Defined for English Language Learners

sympathetic

adjective

Definition of sympathetic for English Language Learners

  • : 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 Defined for Kids

sympathetic

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

Definition of sympathetic for Students

1 : feeling or showing care or understanding
  • I received help from sympathetic friends.
2 : feeling favorable
  • They're not sympathetic to the idea.

sympathetically

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

Medical Dictionary

1

sympathetic

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

medical Definition of sympathetic

1 : of or relating to the sympathetic nervous system
2 : mediated by or acting on the sympathetic nerves

sympathetically

play \-i-k(ə-)lē\ adverb

2

sympathetic

noun

medical Definition of sympathetic

: a sympathetic structure; especially : sympathetic nervous system


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