- the psychological identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.
- the imaginative ascribing to an object, as a natural object or work of art, feelings or attitudes present in oneself: By means of empathy, a great painting becomes a mirror of the self.
Origin of empathy
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for empathy
You write a lot about celebrities and with a lot of empathy.Daphne Merkin on Lena Dunham, Book Criticism, and Self-Examination
December 26, 2014
Men's Rights Activist "I have a lot of empathy for men, and the pressures that they go through."The Beyoncé Manifesto: Quotes on Nihilism and Feminism
December 12, 2014
The book thus has an attractive double “empathy,” a word that appears in all four parts.Richard Ford’s Artful Survivalist Guide: The Return of Frank Bascombe
November 4, 2014
Presumably, those who share the campaign are doing so with empathy in mind, though they may lack the funds to contribute more.Only in the Age of Crowdfunding: $40K Potato Salad
July 10, 2014
It has a lot to do with empathy and prejudice—the potential to avoid an escalating conflict through the ability to be empathetic.
But there's no higher mentality to develop—not a trace of empathy.Millennium
Everett B. Cole
The empathy game has been played with words and theatrics in many schools.The Civilization of Illiteracy
Perhaps because of empathy, the "feeling oneself into" the object contemplated.
Perhaps the fascination of fire is empathy of a similar sort; for fire is power.
Empathy can perhaps explain the appeal of the big in art and nature.
- the power of understanding and imaginatively entering into another person's feelingsSee also identification (def. 3b)
- the attribution to an object, such as a work of art, of one's own emotional or intellectual feelings about it
Word Origin and History for empathy
1903, from German Einfühlung (from ein "in" + Fühlung "feeling"), coined 1858 by German philosopher Rudolf Lotze (1817-1881) as a translation of Greek empatheia "passion, state of emotion," from en "in" (see en- (2)) + pathos "feeling" (see pathos). A term from a theory of art appreciation that maintains appreciation depends on the viewer's ability to project his personality into the viewed object.
- Direct identification with, understanding of, and vicarious experience of another person's situation, feelings, and motives.
- The projection of one's own feelings or emotional state onto an object or animal.
Identifying oneself completely with an object or person, sometimes even to the point of responding physically, as when, watching a baseball player swing at a pitch, one feels one's own muscles flex.