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a combining form occurring in loanwords from Greek, where it meant “suffering,” “feeling” (antipathy; sympathy); in compound words of modern formation, often used with the meaning “morbid affection,” “disease” (arthropathy; deuteropathy; neuropathy; psychopathy), and hence used also in names of systems or methods of treating disease (allopathy; homeopathy; hydropathy; osteopathy).
Compare -path, -pathia.
Origin of -pathy
combining form representing Greek pátheia suffering, feeling, equivalent to páth(os) pathos + -eia -y3 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for -pathy


combining form
indicating feeling, sensitivity, or perception: telepathy
indicating disease or a morbid condition: psychopathy
indicating a method of treating disease: osteopathy
Derived Forms
-pathic, combining_form:in_adjective
Word Origin
from Greek patheia suffering; see pathos
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for -pathy

word-forming element meaning "feeling, suffering, emotion; disorder, disease," from Latin -pathia, from Greek -patheia "act of suffering, feeling" (see pathos). Meaning "system of treatment of disease" is abstracted from homeopathy (q.v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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-pathy in Medicine

-pathy suff.

  1. Disease: neuropathy.

  2. A system of treating disease: homeopathy.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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