- Sympathy is defined as feeling sadness for other people or the act of expressing such feelings or identifying with a person or an idea.
- An example of sympathy is the way you feel for your friend when her husband dies.
- An example of sympathy is what you say to your friend when her husband dies.
- An example of sympathy is when you say you understand where a person is coming from.
- sameness of feeling; affinity between persons or of one person for another
- Now Rare agreement in qualities; harmony; accord
- a mutual liking or understanding arising from sameness of feeling
- an entering into, or the ability to enter into, another person's mental state, feelings, emotions, etc.
- pity or compassion felt for another's trouble, suffering, etc.
- a feeling of approval of or agreement with an idea, cause, etc.
- Physics a relation or harmony between bodies of such a nature that vibrations in one cause sympathetic vibrations in the other or others
- Physiol. a relation between body parts of such a nature that a disorder, pain, etc. in one induces a similar effect in another
Origin of sympathyClassical Latin sympathia ; from Classical Greek sympatheia ; from syn-, together + pathos, feeling: see pathos
- a. A feeling of pity or sorrow for the distress of another; commiseration. See Synonyms at pity.b. often sympathies An expression of such feeling: offered her sympathies to the mourning family.
- a. Mutual understanding or feeling between people: “Like two frightened children, we sought at the same time to comfort one another, so quick was the sympathy between us” (Nicholas Meyer).b. Agreement with or support for an opinion or position: The mayor is in sympathy with the proposal.c. often sympathies A tendency to support a position or opinion: a politician of conservative sympathies.
- a. A relationship or affinity between things in which whatever affects one correspondingly affects the other: “Continuous measurements of ionospheric densities &ellipsis; showed a variation of noon ionization in sympathy with sunspot activity” (E.V. Appelton).b. Physics A relation between bodies such that vibrations in one body cause sympathetic vibrations in another.c. Physiology A relation between parts or organs by which a disease or disorder in one induces an effect in the other.
Origin of sympathyLatin sympathīa, natural affinity, fellow feeling, from Greek sumpatheia, from sumpathēs, affected by like feelings : sun-, syn- + pathos, emotion; see kwent(h)- in Indo-European roots.
Used similarly to empathy, interchangeably in looser usage. In stricter usage, empathy is stronger and more intimate, while sympathy is weaker and more distant; see empathy: usage notes.