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

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Other Words from sympathize

sympathizer noun

Examples of sympathize in a Sentence

I sympathize but how can I help?
Recent Examples on the Web Johnson has fiercely defended his controversial decision to reporters, sympathizing with Escamilla’s situation as a single parent raising a child with disabilities. Jeremy Gorner,, "Chicago police commander who had underlings babysit son is demoted by interim Superintendent Charlie Beck," 3 Dec. 2019 This isn’t the Elizabeth of Seasons 1 and 2, who left us rooting for and sympathizing with the monarch who never wanted the job. oregonlive, "‘The Crown’: Netflix’s royal drama returns with a splendid new cast, and the same grand style," 14 Nov. 2019 During the trial, defense lawyers suggested that the authorities sympathized with the protesters and had not tried to track them down. Colin Moynihan, New York Times, "2 Proud Boys Sentenced to 4 Years in Brawl With Anti-Fascists at Republican Club," 22 Oct. 2019 Sims: Song Kang-ho [who stars as the Kim father] often plays a sort of noble buffoon for you, an everyman, someone the audience can sympathize with. David Sims, The Atlantic, "How Bong Joon-ho Invented the Weird World of Parasite," 15 Oct. 2019 Hansen said both yellows were fair calls, but sympathized with his players. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Stand-in flyhalf Barrett leads All Blacks’ rout of Namibia," 6 Oct. 2019 Businesses in Hong Kong, both international and local, have also faced pressure and accusations of acting in concert or sympathizing with the protesters. Tara John, CNN, "Why Hong Kong is protesting," 13 Aug. 2019 President Donald Trump is apparently trying to sympathize with Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, over the horrid press to which she has been subjected. Breanna Edwards, Essence, "Trump Says He Can 'Understand' Why Meghan Markle Takes The Press 'Personally'," 1 Nov. 2019 According to former coworkers, Grogan instead has long sympathized more with a populist, nonconformist brand of conservatism that Trump has come to personify. Lev Facher, STAT, "How Joe Grogan, a former pharma lobbyist, upended Trump’s drug pricing agenda," 22 Oct. 2019

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

9 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Sympathize.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 14 December 2019.

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More Definitions for sympathize


How to pronounce sympathize (audio)

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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More from Merriam-Webster on sympathize

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sympathize

Spanish Central: Translation of sympathize

Nglish: Translation of sympathize for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sympathize for Arabic Speakers

Comments on sympathize

What made you want to look up sympathize? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to assail by words or arguments

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