sym·​pa·​thize | \ ˈsim-pə-ˌthīz How to pronounce sympathize (audio) \
sympathized; sympathizing

Definition of sympathize

intransitive verb

1 : to be in keeping, accord, or harmony
2 : to react or respond in sympathy
3 : to share in suffering or grief : commiserate sympathize with a friend in trouble also : to express such sympathy
4 : to be in sympathy intellectually sympathize with a proposal

Other Words from sympathize

sympathizer noun

Examples of sympathize in a Sentence

I sympathize but how can I help?
Recent Examples on the Web Generations of American chefs conscripted into turkey duty can sympathize. David Faris, The Week, 25 Nov. 2021 In response to the latest lawsuits, Sterigenics issued a statement to the AJC saying company officials sympathize with anyone battling cancer. Brian Eason, ajc, 16 Dec. 2021 But that shouldn’t be necessary to sympathize with them rather than demonize them. Benjamin Vanhoose,, 3 Dec. 2021 Boris Dolgov, a senior research fellow at the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Oriental Studies, warned that groups in Tajikistan that sympathize with the Taliban and Islamist ideals could act against the government. Ann M. Simmons, WSJ, 25 Oct. 2021 Oren doesn’t ask the audience to pity Esther, but theatergoers are sure to sympathize with her. Matthew J. Palm,, 31 Oct. 2021 By the final pages the reader will have come to better understand, and to sympathize with, Aroon’s act of culinary revenge. Francine Prose, The New York Review of Books, 22 Nov. 2018 Since the late-19th century, writers have used passing as a narrative tool to do everything from encouraging white readers to sympathize with the struggles of Black characters to scrutinizing the hypocrisy of America’s racial hierarchy. Brittany Luse, Vulture, 18 Oct. 2021 Contra Costa County prosecutors asked jurors to sympathize with a clearly troubled man whose only crime was refusing to stop for police. Rachel Swan, San Francisco Chronicle, 4 Oct. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sympathize.' 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 sympathize

1600, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for sympathize

Time Traveler

The first known use of sympathize was in 1600

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Last Updated

5 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Sympathize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for sympathize



English Language Learners Definition of sympathize

: to feel sorry for someone who is in a bad situation : to feel sympathy for someone because you understand that person's problems
: to feel or show support for or approval of something


sym·​pa·​thize | \ ˈsim-pə-ˌthīz How to pronounce sympathize (audio) \
sympathized; sympathizing

Kids Definition of sympathize

1 : to feel or show pity or care and understanding for We sympathize with the family in its sorrow.
2 : to be in favor of something … no one sympathized with him in his little attempts to discover a quiet place for the seals.— Rudyard Kipling, The Jungle Book


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