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[em-puh-thet-ik] /ˌɛm pəˈθɛt ɪk/
of, relating to, or characterized by empathy, the psychological identification with the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of others:
a sensitive, empathetic school counselor.
Also, empathic
[em-path-ik] /ɛmˈpæθ ɪk/ (Show IPA)
Origin of empathetic
First recorded in 1930-35; empath(y) + -etic
Related forms
empathetically, empathically, adverb
nonempathic, adjective
nonempathically, adverb
Can be confused
empathetic, sympathetic, simpatico. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for empathic
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Had a virtually complete case of empathic paralysis when he came to us.

    Final Weapon Everett B. Cole
  • And the mountain in question, seen from one double its height, will suggest the empathic activity of spreading itself out.

    The Beautiful Vernon Lee
  • But he did feel the wave of emotion that welled from her, impinging directly on his empathic sense.

    Sense of Obligation Henry Maxwell Dempsey (AKA Harry Harrison)
  • Gadow's contrasting paradigms, empathic and philanthropic, are relevant to this understanding.

    Nursing as Caring Anne Boykin
  • In the empathic paradigm, the subjectivity of the other is "assumed to be as whole and valid as that of the caregiver" (p. 68).

    Nursing as Caring Anne Boykin
British Dictionary definitions for empathic


of or relating to empathy
Derived Forms
empathically, empathetically, adverb
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 empathic

1909, from empathy + -ic. Related: Empathically.



1932, in psychology, from empathy on model of sympathetic and to distinguish it from empathic. Related: Empathetically.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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