Definition of sympathy
- every part is in complete sympathy with the scheme as a whole
- —Edwin Benson
- in sympathy with their goals
- republican sympathies
- have sympathy for the poor
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.
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.
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 that 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.
bigheartedness, charity, commiseration, compassion, feeling, good-heartedness, heart, humanity, kindheartedness, kindliness, kindness, largeheartedness, mercy, pity, ruth, softheartedness, warmheartedness;
: 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.
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