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[adjective kuh m-pash-uh-nit; verb kuh m-pash-uh-neyt] /adjective kəmˈpæʃ ə nɪt; verb kəmˈpæʃ əˌneɪt/
having or showing compassion:
a compassionate person; a compassionate letter.
granted in an emergency:
compassionate military leave granted to attend a funeral.
Obsolete. pitiable.
verb (used with object), compassionated, compassionating.
Archaic. to pity or have compassion for.
Origin of compassionate
First recorded in 1580-90; compassion + -ate1
Related forms
compassionately, adverb
compassionateness, noun
uncompassionate, adjective
uncompassionately, adverb
uncompassionateness, noun
1. pitying, sympathizing, sympathetic, tender. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for compassionately
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • She was looking at Lydia with her kind look, but, Lydia could also see, compassionately.

    The Prisoner Alice Brown
  • "I'm afraid it is, sir—in a way," he remarked, compassionately.

    The Tinted Venus F. Anstey
  • He has tried, compassionately tried, to keep his secret sorrow from discovery, and he has failed.

    The Evil Genius Wilkie Collins
  • "You must make up your mind to find it pretty lonesome," he said, compassionately.

    Eyebright Susan Coolidge
  • The World, in its gentlest mood of indulgence, will say compassionately, 'Poor man!

    A Strange Story, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • Lady Kelsey looked at her compassionately, but did not insist.

    The Explorer W. Somerset Maugham
  • "It is just breaking Sara's heart that she can't," said Cecily compassionately.

    The Golden Road Lucy Maud Montgomery
  • Let us trace, compassionately if ironically, the mistakes of this sad woman.

    Browning's Heroines Ethel Colburn Mayne
British Dictionary definitions for compassionately


showing or having compassion
compassionate leave, leave granted, esp to a serviceman, on the grounds of bereavement, family illness, etc
Derived Forms
compassionately, adverb
compassionateness, noun
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 compassionately



1580s, from compassion + -ate (1). Related: Compassionately. Phrase compassionate conservatism in American political language recorded by 1992, popularized, if not coined, by Marvin Olasky, University of Texas at Austin instructor.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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