sympathy

noun
sym·​pa·​thy | \ ˈsim-pə-thē How to pronounce sympathy (audio) \
plural sympathies

Definition of sympathy

1a : 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
2a : 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
3a : 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

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Choose the Right Synonym for 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 vs. Empathy

Sympathy and empathy are closely related words, bound by shared origins and the similar circumstances in which each is applicable, yet they are not synonymous. For one thing, sympathy is considerably older than empathy, having existed in our language for several hundred years before its cousin was introduced, and its greater age is reflected in a wider breadth of meaning. Sympathy may refer to "feelings of loyalty" or "unity or harmony in action or effect," meanings not shared by empathy. In the contexts where the two words do overlap, sympathy implies sharing (or having the capacity to share) the feelings of another, while empathy tends to be used to mean imagining, or having the capacity to imagine, feelings that one does not actually have.

Examples of sympathy in a Sentence

She went to her best friend for sympathy. Letters of sympathy were sent to the families of the victims. My deepest sympathies go out to the families of the victims. Our sympathies are with them. There was no sympathy between them.
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Recent Examples on the Web

His 42-minute victory over Tyler Bate is requisite watching, with intense psychology that tied to WALTER abusing Bate’s past injuries, bullying the babyface to the point where the sympathy for Bate from the crowd was nearly palpable. Justin Barrasso, SI.com, "Chris Jericho Becomes All Elite Wrestling's First-Ever World Champion: All Out Takeaways," 1 Sep. 2019 President Eisenhower, de Gaulle’s wartime comrade, was in some sympathy with the French view that the Anglo-Americans should not withhold from their principal Western ally what the Soviet rival and prospective enemy already possessed. Conrad Black, National Review, "A Strong U.S. Needs a Strong U.K.," 11 July 2019 The currencies of China’s big trading partners, such as the euro, have got caught up in the yuan’s shifting tides, rising and falling in sympathy. The Economist, "Low interest rates and sluggish growth may lead to currency wars," 21 June 2019 And while other major cruise stocks declined in sympathy, Royal Caribean Cruises Ltd. and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. were up 18% and 21% this year through midday trading Friday, respectively. Laura Forman, WSJ, "Carnival’s Foul Forecast Isn’t Clearing Up," 21 June 2019 Ainge, with his habit of winning trades, isn’t getting much sympathy around the league. Chad Finn, BostonGlobe.com, "Even without Anthony Davis, Celtics are still in a decent place," 17 June 2019 The Warriors will get very little sympathy from outsiders, who quickly remind you of all the injuries to opponents that have worked in Golden State's favor over the years. Jerry Brewer, courant.com, "The Warriors, accustomed to dominance, are now battling uncertainty," 6 June 2019 The reader is left to imagine the scene and wince in sympathy). Rosa Brooks, chicagotribune.com, "An elegy for American diplomacy," 21 May 2018 There is nothing necessarily inappropriate about a biographer being in profound sympathy with his or her subject, to the exclusion of that person’s contemporaries. David Rieff, Harper's magazine, "An American in the Treetops," 19 Aug. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of sympathy

1579, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for sympathy

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

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Statistics for sympathy

Last Updated

5 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sympathy

The first known use of sympathy was in 1579

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More Definitions for sympathy

sympathy

noun

English Language Learners Definition of sympathy

: 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

noun
sym·​pa·​thy | \ ˈsim-pə-thē How to pronounce sympathy (audio) \
plural sympathies

Kids Definition of sympathy

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

sympathy

noun
sym·​pa·​thy | \ ˈsim-pə-thē How to pronounce sympathy (audio) \
plural sympathies

Medical Definition of sympathy

1a : 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
2a : 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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More from Merriam-Webster on sympathy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sympathy

Spanish Central: Translation of sympathy

Nglish: Translation of sympathy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sympathy for Arabic Speakers

Comments on sympathy

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