An example of to sympathize is to feel badly for someone who recently lost her job.
intransitive verb-·thized·, -·thiz·ing
- to share or understand the feelings or ideas of another
- to feel or express sympathy, esp. in pity or compassion; commiserate
- Now Rare to be in harmony or accord
Origin of sympathizeFrench sympathiser
intransitive verbsym·pa·thized, sym·pa·thiz·ing, sym·pa·thiz·es
- To feel or express compassion, as for another's suffering; commiserate.
- To share or understand the feelings or ideas of another: sympathized with the goals of the committee.
- To be in accord; correspond.
(third-person singular simple present sympathizes, present participle sympathizing, simple past and past participle sympathized) (North America)
Used similarly to empathize, interchangeably in looser usage. In stricter usage, empathize is stronger and more intimate, while sympathize is weaker and more distant; see empathy: usage notes.
Further, the general “agree, accord" sense of sympathize is not shared with empathize.