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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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for commiseration
Historical Examples
  • The latter turned with piteous look toward his chums, whose faces reflected his expression of commiseration, almost horror.

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

    The Three Midshipmen W.H.G. Kingston
  • Time would heal the wound that had been inflicted; and incline them to look with commiseration on youthful errors easy to repair.

  • And he began to feel a commiseration for the men who were not in dress suits.

    Skinner's Dress Suit Henry Irving Dodge
  • It was too stupendous for rebuke, and I fancied his eyes softened with something like commiseration as he gazed upon us.

    Mugby Junction Charles Dickens
  • The cook eyed the captive with curiosity not unmixed with commiseration.

  • The friend shook his head, raising his eyebrows as if he had heard a jest deserving only of commiseration, but not of an answer.

    The Saint Antonio Fogazzaro
  • The pity, the commiseration of their expressions was touching to behold.

    Pixie O'Shaughnessy Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey
  • But the thought of Dorothy nerved me; perhaps also my real friendship and commiseration for Sinclair.

    Room Number 3 Anna Katharine Green
  • A shrewd friend from Boston met her with commiseration in her face.

    The Light of the Star Hamlin Garland
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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