sympathy


sympathy
/sim"peuh thee/, n., pl. sympathies, adj.
n.
1. harmony of or agreement in feeling, as between persons or on the part of one person with respect to another.
2. the harmony of feeling naturally existing between persons of like tastes or opinion or of congenial dispositions.
3. the fact or power of sharing the feelings of another, esp. in sorrow or trouble; fellow feeling, compassion, or commiseration.
4. sympathies,
a. feelings or impulses of compassion.
b. feelings of favor, support, or loyalty: It's hard to tell where your sympathies lie.
5. favorable or approving accord; favor or approval: He viewed the plan with sympathy and publicly backed it.
6. agreement, consonance, or accord.
7. Psychol. a relationship between persons in which the condition of one induces a parallel or reciprocal condition in another.
8. Physiol. the relation between parts or organs whereby a condition or disorder of one part induces some effect in another.
adj.
9. expressing sympathy: a sympathy card; a sympathy vote.
[1560-70; < L sympathia < Gk sympátheia, equiv. to sympathe-, s. of sympathés sympathetic (sym- SYM- + páth(os) suffering, sensation + -es adj. suffix) + -ia -Y3]
Syn. 1. concord, understanding, rapport, affinity. SYMPATHY, COMPASSION, PITY, EMPATHY all denote the tendency, practice, or capacity to share in the feelings of others, especially their distress, sorrow, or unfulfilled desires. SYMPATHY is the broadest of these terms, signifying a general kinship with another's feelings, no matter of what kind: in sympathy with her yearning for peace and freedom; to extend sympathy to the bereaved. COMPASSION implies a deep sympathy for the sorrows or troubles of another coupled to a powerful urge to alleviate the pain or distress or to remove its source: to show compassion for homeless refugees.
PITY usually suggests a kindly, but sometimes condescending, sorrow aroused by the suffering or ill fortune of others, often leading to a show of mercy: tears of pity for war casualties; to have pity on a thief driven by hunger. EMPATHY most often refers to a vicarious participation in the emotions, ideas, or opinions of others, the ability to imagine oneself in the condition or predicament of another: empathy with those striving to improve their lives; to feel empathy with Hamlet as one watches the play.

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Universalium. 2010.

Synonyms:

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  • sympathy — 1570s, affinity between certain things, from M.Fr. sympathie, from L.L. sympathia community of feeling, sympathy, from Gk. sympatheia, from sympathes having a fellow feeling, affected by like feelings, from syn together + pathos feeling (see… …   Etymology dictionary

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  • sympathy — ► NOUN (pl. sympathies) 1) feelings of pity and sorrow for someone else s misfortune. 2) understanding between people; common feeling. 3) support for or approval of something. 4) (in sympathy) relating harmoniously to something else; in keeping.… …   English terms dictionary

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