What does sympathy mean?

Definitions for sympathy
ˈsɪm pə θisym·pa·thy

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word sympathy.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. sympathy, understanding(noun)

    an inclination to support or be loyal to or to agree with an opinion

    "his sympathies were always with the underdog"; "I knew I could count on his understanding"

  2. sympathy, fellow feeling(noun)

    sharing the feelings of others (especially feelings of sorrow or anguish)

  3. sympathy(noun)

    a relation of affinity or harmony between people; whatever affects one correspondingly affects the other

    "the two of them were in close sympathy"


  1. Sympathy(n.)

    (Physiol. & Med.) (a) The reciprocal influence exercised by organs or parts on one another, as shown in the effects of a diseased condition of one part on another part or organ, as in the vomiting produced by a tumor of the brain. (b) The influence of a certain psychological state in one person in producing a like state in another. In the original 1890 work, sense (b) was described as:

  2. Origin: [F. sympathie, L. sympathia, Gr. ; sy`n with + suffering, passion, fr. , , to suffer. See Syn-, and Pathos.]


  1. sympathy(Noun)

    A feeling of pity or sorrow for the suffering or distress of another; compassion.

  2. sympathy(Noun)

    The ability to share the feelings of another;

  3. sympathy(Noun)

    A mutual relationship between people or things such that they are correspondingly affected by any condition.

  4. Origin: From sympathie, from sympathia, from συμπάθεια, from σύν + πάθος.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Sympathy(noun)

    feeling corresponding to that which another feels; the quality of being affected by the affection of another, with feelings correspondent in kind, if not in degree; fellow-feeling

  2. Sympathy(noun)

    an agreement of affections or inclinations, or a conformity of natural temperament, which causes persons to be pleased, or in accord, with one another; as, there is perfect sympathy between them

  3. Sympathy(noun)

    kindness of feeling toward one who suffers; pity; commiseration; compassion

  4. Sympathy(noun)

    the reciprocal influence exercised by the various organs or parts of the body on one another, as manifested in the transmission of a disease by unknown means from one organ to another quite remote, or in the influence exerted by a diseased condition of one part on another part or organ, as in the vomiting produced by a tumor of the brain

  5. Sympathy(noun)

    that relation which exists between different persons by which one of them produces in the others a state or condition like that of himself. This is shown in the tendency to yawn which a person often feels on seeing another yawn, or the strong inclination to become hysteric experienced by many women on seeing another person suffering with hysteria

  6. Sympathy(noun)

    a tendency of inanimate things to unite, or to act on each other; as, the sympathy between the loadstone and iron

  7. Sympathy(noun)

    similarity of function, use office, or the like

  8. Origin: [F. sympathie, L. sympathia, Gr. ; sy`n with + suffering, passion, fr. , , to suffer. See Syn-, and Pathos.]


  1. Sympathy

    Sympathy is a feeling and concern. Or it can be the perception, understanding, and reaction to the distress or need of another human being. This empathic concern is driven by a switch in viewpoint, from a personal perspective to the perspective of another group or individual who is in need. Empathy and sympathy are often used interchangeably. Sympathy is a feeling, but the two terms have distinct origins and meanings. Empathy refers to the understanding and sharing of a specific emotional state with another person. Sympathy does not require the sharing of the same emotional state. Instead, sympathy is a concern for the well-being of another. Although sympathy may begin with empathizing with the same emotion another person is feeling, sympathy can be extended to other emotional states.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Sympathy

    sim′pa-thi, n. like feeling: an agreement of inclination, feeling, or sensation: compassion: pity: tenderness: an agreement of affections or inclinations, or a conformity of natural temperament: mutual conformity of parts in the fine arts: correspondence of parts in similar sensations or affections, or the affection of the whole body or system, or some part of it, in consequence of local injury or disease: propensity of inanimate bodies to union or mutual action: the effective union of colours.—adjs. Sympathet′ic, -al, showing, or inclined to, sympathy: feeling with another: able to sympathise: compassionate: produced by sympathy: uniting viscera and blood-vessels in a nervous action common to them all: noting sounds induced by vibrations conveyed through air, &c., from a body already in vibration.—adv. Sympathet′ically.—n. Sympathet′icism, undue disipostion to be sympathetic.—v.i. Sym′pathise, to have sympathy: to feel with or for another: to be compassionate.—ns. Sym′pathiser; Sym′pathism; Sym′pathist.—Sympathetic ink (see Ink). [Gr. sympatheiasyn, with, pathos, suffering.]

The Roycroft Dictionary

  1. sympathy

    1. A malady that sometimes afflicts the rich. 2. The lees of the wine-cup offered to another. 3. An impulse toward ourselves through the heart of another. 4. Whatever may be extended to another that does not take the shape of money. 5. The sum of all virtues. 6. The first attribute of love as well as its last. (I am not sure but that sympathy is love's own self, vitalized mayhap by some divine actinic ray. Only the souls who have suffered are well loved.)

The Foolish Dictionary, by Gideon Wurdz


    Feeling for others; very noticeable in Blind Man's Buff.

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'sympathy' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #4282

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'sympathy' in Written Corpus Frequency: #4633

  3. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'sympathy' in Nouns Frequency: #1622

How to pronounce sympathy?

  1. Alex
    US English

How to say sympathy in sign language?

  1. sympathy


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of sympathy in Chaldean Numerology is: 9

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of sympathy in Pythagorean Numerology is: 1

Examples of sympathy in a Sentence

  1. Nancy Mills:

    It was a sympathy vote for Daly Danko.

  2. Edward Gibbon:

    Our sympathy is cold to the relation of distant misery.

  3. James Joyce:

    We are bound together by the sympathy of our antipathies.

  4. Lizette Risgaard:

    That's why LO now issues a second sympathy conflict warning.

  5. Jacinda Ardern:

    My message was sympathy and love for all Muslim communities.

Images & Illustrations of sympathy

  1. sympathysympathysympathysympathysympathy

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for sympathy

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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"sympathy." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 7 Dec. 2019. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/sympathy>.

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