Synonym Chooser

How does the noun compassion contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of compassion are commiseration, condolence, pity, and sympathy. While all these words mean "the act or capacity for sharing the painful feelings of another," compassion implies pity coupled with an urgent desire to aid or to spare.

treats the homeless with great compassion

When might commiseration be a better fit than compassion?

While in some cases nearly identical to compassion, commiseration suggests pity expressed outwardly in exclamations, tears, or words of comfort.

murmurs of commiseration filled the loser's headquarters

Where would condolence be a reasonable alternative to compassion?

While the synonyms condolence and compassion are close in meaning, condolence applies chiefly to formal expression of grief to one who has suffered loss.

expressed their condolences to the widow

In what contexts can pity take the place of compassion?

In some situations, the words pity and compassion are roughly equivalent. However, pity implies tender or sometimes slightly contemptuous sorrow for one in misery or distress.

felt pity for the captives

When is sympathy a more appropriate choice than compassion?

The words sympathy and compassion can be used in similar contexts, but 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

Thesaurus Entries Near compassion

Cite this Entry

“Compassion.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Sep. 2023.

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