sympathy

noun sym·pa·thy \ ˈsim-pə-thē \
Updated on: 21 Nov 2017

Definition of sympathy

plural sympathies
1 a : an affinity, association, or relationship between persons or things wherein whatever affects one similarly affects the other
b : mutual or parallel susceptibility or a condition brought about by it
c : unity or harmony in action or effect
  • every part is in complete sympathy with the scheme as a whole
  • —Edwin Benson
2 a : inclination to think or feel alike : emotional or intellectual accord
  • in sympathy with their goals
b : feeling of loyalty : tendency to favor or support
  • republican sympathies
3 a : the act or capacity of entering into or sharing the feelings or interests of another
b : the feeling or mental state brought about by such sensitivity
  • have sympathy for the poor
4 : the correlation existing between bodies capable of communicating their vibrational energy to one another through some medium

Examples of sympathy in a Sentence

  1. She went to her best friend for sympathy.

  2. Letters of sympathy were sent to the families of the victims.

  3. My deepest sympathies go out to the families of the victims.

  4. Our sympathies are with them.

  5. There was no sympathy between them.

Recent Examples of sympathy from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sympathy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of sympathy

Latin sympathia, from Greek sympatheia, from sympathēs having common feelings, sympathetic, from syn- + pathos feelings, emotion, experience — more at pathos

Synonym Discussion of sympathy

attraction, affinity, sympathy mean the relationship existing between things or persons that are naturally or involuntarily drawn together. attraction implies the possession by one thing of a quality that pulls another to it.
    • felt an attraction to danger
affinity implies a susceptibility or predisposition on the part of the one drawn.
    • an affinity for mathematics
sympathy implies a reciprocal or natural relation between two things that are both susceptible to the same influence.
    • two minds in sympathy
pity, compassion, commiseration, condolence, sympathy mean the act or capacity for sharing the painful feelings of another. pity implies tender or sometimes slightly contemptuous sorrow for one in misery or distress.
    • felt pity for the captives
compassion implies pity coupled with an urgent desire to aid or to spare.
    • treats the homeless with great compassion
commiseration suggests pity expressed outwardly in exclamations, tears, or words of comfort.
    • murmurs of commiseration filled the loser's headquarters
condolence applies chiefly to formal expression of grief to one who has suffered loss.
    • expressed their condolences to the widow
sympathy often suggests a tender concern but can also imply a power to enter into another's emotional experience of any sort.
    • went to my best friend for sympathy
    • in sympathy with her desire to locate her natural parents


SYMPATHY Defined for English Language Learners

sympathy

noun

Definition of sympathy for English Language Learners

  • : the feeling that you care about and are sorry about someone else's trouble, grief, misfortune, etc. : a sympathetic feeling

  • : a feeling of support for something

  • : a state in which different people share the same interests, opinions, goals, etc.


SYMPATHY Defined for Kids

sympathy

noun sym·pa·thy \ ˈsim-pə-thē \

Definition of sympathy for Students

plural sympathies
1 : sorrow or pity for another
  • She felt sympathy for the poor lost puppy.
2 : readiness to favor or support
  • He expressed sympathy for the protesters.
3 : a relationship between people or things in which whatever affects one similarly affects the other

Medical Dictionary

sympathy

noun sym·pa·thy \ ˈsim-pə-thē \

medical Definition of sympathy

plural sympathies
1 a : an affinity, association, or relationship between persons or things wherein whatever affects one similarly affects the other
b : mutual or parallel susceptibility or a condition brought about by it
2 a : the act or capacity of entering into or sharing the feelings or interests of another
b : the feeling or mental state brought about by such sensitivity


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