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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for compassionately
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "Just a minute more and I'll ease the pain for you," murmured the girl, compassionately.

    Chip, of the Flying U B. M. Bower
  • She was looking at Lydia with her kind look, but, Lydia could also see, compassionately.

    The Prisoner Alice Brown
  • "I suspect you 've had rather a hard time of it," said Davis, compassionately.

    Davenport Dunn, Volume 2 (of 2) Charles James Lever
  • He looked at her compassionately, for there was that in her face that might well have challenged pity.

    One Of Them Charles James Lever
  • "Mr. Dunn is more to be pitied than any of us," said Lady Augusta, compassionately.

    Davenport Dunn, Volume 1 (of 2) Charles James Lever
  • "It is very dull for you, indeed," said he, compassionately.

    The Bramleighs Of Bishop's Folly Charles James Lever
  • "I'll carry your basket a piece," said Tom, compassionately.

    Uncle Tom's Cabin Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • "The petal of a plum blossom," he said compassionately, in his own tongue.

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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