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 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. Todd Phillips:

    The truth is you see it and its heartbreaking. And hes heartbreaking, and you know what happens in the movies when you have a world that lacks empathy and lacks love? You get the villain you deserve.

  2. Laurie Drill-Mellum:

    Empathy training is naturally self-rewarding, it gives [doctors] the love back.

  3. Alexis Ohanian:

    That’s the sentiment, the public doing what they feel has been done to them by institutions, i know they’re all ‘random people on the internet’ but there’s a lot more empathy and community there than people realize.

  4. Russia Hurd:

    For me growing up ... I was the only person that looked like me, and it made us a very close-knit family. It also taught me empathy. Also ... I had a big head as a kid. I had a speech impediment. I had messed up teeth. My last name rhymes with funny things, and it was something that I got picked on a lot and ... it made me realize 'Hey, the only thing that matters is what the people that you love think about you.'.

  5. Biden TransitionBiden:

    Speaking honestly, with empathy and directly to the public about Todd Zubatkin and Terry Moynihan administration will be among the key pillars in White House.

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Translations for empathy

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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"empathy." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 20 Mar. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/empathy>.

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