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[kuh-miz-uh-reyt] /kəˈmɪz əˌreɪt/
verb (used with object), commiserated, commiserating.
to feel or express sorrow or sympathy for; empathize with; pity.
verb (used without object), commiserated, commiserating.
to sympathize (usually followed by with):
They commiserated with him over the loss of his job.
Origin of commiserate
1585-95; < Latin commiserātus (past participle of commiserārī), equivalent to com- com- + miser pitiable (see misery) + -ātus -ate1
Related forms
commiserable, adjective
commiseration, noun
commiserative, adjective
commiseratively, adverb
commiserator, noun
noncommiseration, noun
noncommiserative, adjective
noncommiseratively, adverb
uncommiserated, adjective
uncommiserating, adjective
uncommiserative, adjective
uncommiseratively, adverb
Can be confused
commensurate, commiserate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for commiseration
Historical Examples
  • His eyes were filled with commiseration for the poor animal.

  • People expressed their commiseration for a woman married to that Jack-in-the-box.

    Amy Foster Joseph Conrad
  • He shrank from every excessive sentiment, and my commiseration was practically unbounded.

    A Set of Six Joseph Conrad
  • They looked at us with commiseration; one of them sweetly, the other with his owlish fixity.

    Romance Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer
  • The cook eyed the captive with curiosity not unmixed with commiseration.

  • A little fear, perhaps, but he could not fancy either pity or commiseration.

  • The people in her regarded them with looks of commiseration.

    The Three Midshipmen W.H.G. Kingston
  • Mrs. Delancy was actually horrified by her niece's commiseration.

    Making People Happy Thompson Buchanan
  • She looked into her lover's face and saw in it a look of commiseration and perplexity.

    War and Peace Leo Tolstoy
  • And he began to feel a commiseration for the men who were not in dress suits.

    Skinner's Dress Suit

    Henry Irving Dodge
British Dictionary definitions for commiseration


when intr, usually foll by with. to feel or express sympathy or compassion (for)
Derived Forms
commiserable, adjective
commiseration, noun
commiserative, adjective
commiseratively, adverb
commiserator, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Latin commiserārī, from com- together + miserārī to bewail, pity, from miser wretched
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 commiseration

1580s, from Middle French commisération, from Latin commiserationem (nominative commiseratio) "act or fact of pitying," noun of action from past participle stem of commiserari "to pity," from com- intensive prefix (see com-) + miserari "bewail, lament," from miser "wretched" (see miser).



c.1600, from Latin commiseratus, past participle of commiserari "to pity, bewail" (see commiseration). Related: Commiserated; commiserating. An Old English loan-translation of commiserate was efensargian.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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