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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from sympathize

sympathizer noun

Examples of sympathize in a Sentence

I sympathize but how can I help?
Recent Examples on the Web But the disarmingly frank opus also revealed Che’s inner journey from a shy, lovelorn and self-absorbed middle-class student to a man who passionately sympathized with oppressed people all over Latin America. Lisette Poole, Smithsonian, "Roaring Through Cuba With Che Guevara’s Son," 24 Oct. 2019 In Alabama, Stevenson quickly learns how resistant the white establishment is to those who sympathize with felons. John Defore, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Just Mercy': Film Review | TIFF 2019," 7 Sep. 2019 Perhaps for this reason, blacks are more likely to sympathize with poor and unemployed friends and relatives, and help out when possible. Helen Epstein, The New York Review of Books, "Left Behind," 10 Mar. 2020 Still, not everyone sympathizes with the militants. Dorothy Rabinowitz, WSJ, "‘Battle for Hong Kong’ Review: A People Rises Up," 6 Feb. 2020 Even the most convinced progressive should sympathize with religious conservatives who are concerned about federal law possibly turning against them. Andrew T. Walker, National Review, "Understanding Why Religious Conservatives Would Vote for Trump," 10 Feb. 2020 Some sympathized with and supported the rebel demands as the campaign morphed into a full-fledged rebellion backed by massive public support. Washington Post, "Indian order leaves Kashmir police dispirited, even disarmed," 27 Aug. 2019 Reid also seamlessly weaves arguments from both Emira and Alix’s perspectives, challenging the reader to sympathize with both characters. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "Kiley Reid’s ‘Such a Fun Age’ Is a Lesson in White Privilege—Without Feeling Like One," 3 Feb. 2020 Meanwhile, remember Stephen Miller, the man who largely helms Trump’s bigoted immigration policy, being revealed last fall to openly sympathize with white nationalism as evident by countless emails? Michael Arceneaux, Essence, "Donald Trump’s Aim To Add All ‘Sh-thole Countries’ To The Travel Ban," 29 Jan. 2020

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.

See More

First Known Use of sympathize

1600, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about sympathize

Time Traveler for sympathize

Time Traveler

The first known use of sympathize was in 1600

See more words from the same year

Statistics for sympathize

Last Updated

14 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sympathize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jun. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!