What does empathy mean?

Definitions for empathy
ˈɛm pə θiem·pa·thy

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word empathy.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. empathynoun

    understanding and entering into another's feelings


  1. empathynoun

    the intellectual identification of the thoughts, feelings, or state of another person

  2. empathynoun

    capacity to understand another person's point of view or the result of such understanding

    She had a lot of empathy for her neighbor; she knew what it was like to lose a parent too.

  3. empathynoun

    a paranormal ability to psychically read another person's emotions

  4. Etymology: A twentieth-century borrowing of ἐμπάθεια (formed from ἐν + πάθος), coined by Edward Bradford Titchener to translate German Einfühlung. The modern Greek word has an opposite meaning denoting strong negative feelings and prejudice against someone.


  1. Empathy

    Empathy is the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference, that is, the capacity to place oneself in another's position. Definitions of empathy encompass a broad range of social, cognitive, and emotional processes primarily concerned with understanding others (and others' emotions in particular). Types of empathy include cognitive empathy, emotional (or affective) empathy, somatic empathy, and spiritual empathy.


  1. empathy

    Empathy is the capacity to understand and share the feelings, emotions or experiences of another person. It involves being able to put oneself in the other person's place, seeing things from their point of view, creating a sense of shared experience.


  1. Empathy

    Empathy is the capacity to recognize emotions that are being experienced by another sentient or fictional being. One may need to have a certain amount of empathy before being able to experience accurate sympathy or compassion. The English word was coined in 1909 by the psychologist Edward B. Titchener in an attempt to translate the German word "Einfühlungsvermögen", a new phenomenon explored at the end of 19th century mainly by philosopher Theodor Lipps. It was later re-translated into the German language as "Empathie", and is still in use there.

U.S. National Library of Medicine

  1. Empathy

    An individual's objective and insightful awareness of the feelings and behavior of another person. It should be distinguished from sympathy, which is usually nonobjective and noncritical. It includes caring, which is the demonstration of an awareness of and a concern for the good of others. (From Bioethics Thesaurus, 1992)

Editors Contribution

  1. empathy

    The ability to intuitively feel, know and understand what a person, collective or group is feeling and to listen and understand their feeling, experience, intention, perception, perspective and respond with a sense of unity, ethics, morality, privacy, respect and what is just and fair for everyone.

    Empathy is a beautiful human attribute and quality that we choose for all of humanity to have and it is vital to the achievement of peace on earth.

    Submitted by MaryC on February 19, 2017  

Suggested Resources

  1. Empathy

    Sympathy vs. Empathy -- In this Grammar.com article you will learn the differences between the words Sympathy and Empathy.

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How to pronounce empathy?

How to say empathy in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of empathy in Chaldean Numerology is: 1

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of empathy in Pythagorean Numerology is: 7

Examples of empathy in a Sentence

  1. Aidan White:

    But at other moments the story is laced with humanity, empathy and a focus on the suffering of those involved.

  2. Ziyah Gafic:

    I have a special empathy for people who have lived under siege, the siege mentality is very particular, it never leaves you.

  3. Urban Meyer:

    I understand my lack of more action in this situation has raised concerns about this commitment. I once again apologize for this and I extend my empathy to all women, men and families who are affected by relationship violence, let me say here and now what I should have said on Wednesday : I sincerely apologize to Courtney Smith and Courtney Smith children for what Courtney Smith and her children have gone through.

  4. Wendy Sue Swanson:

    Let's with understanding and empathy say that it makes sense that people do this, they're not doing it out of any bad or malicious thought or neglect. They're doing it because it's an easy fix for a complex situation -- which is a frustrated, hungry, tired child, and a frustrated, hungry, tired parent.

  5. Kim Fish:

    The best of humanity was really on display after Sandy, and neighbors were helping each other recover around the clock, i just hope we don't have to wait for the next superstorm to show that kind of empathy and solve this crisis.

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Translations for empathy

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"empathy." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 19 May 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/empathy>.

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