- characterized by, proceeding from, exhibiting, or feeling sympathy; sympathizing; compassionate: a sympathetic listener.
- acting or affected by, of the nature of, or pertaining to a special affinity or mutual relationship; congenial: With their many similar tastes, he found her a most sympathetic companion.
- looking upon with favor (often followed by to or toward): She is sympathetic to the project.
- Anatomy, Physiology.
- pertaining to that part of the autonomic nervous system consisting of nerves that arise from the thoracic and lumbar regions of the spinal cord, and functioning in opposition to the parasympathetic system, as in stimulating heartbeat, dilating the pupil of the eye, etc.
- Obsolete.pertaining to the autonomic nervous system in its entirety.
- Physics. noting or pertaining to vibrations, sounds, etc., produced by a body as the direct result of similar vibrations in a different body.
Origin of sympathetic
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for sympathetic
Goebbels, in fact, would be seen as the leader most sympathetic to the modernists.Top Nazis And Their Complicated Relationship With Artists
November 30, 2014
Some Bush Administration officials were sympathetic , but told them that under existing law it would be very difficult.Bringing El Salvador Nun Killers to Justice
November 10, 2014
He says the owner of the house in which he lives has not been sympathetic to him.This Man Lost 35 Relatives to Ebola and His Community Wants Him Gone
Wade C.L. Williams
October 30, 2014
But she nevertheless declares herself to be sympathetic to the former secretary of state.Gail Sheehy Books Passage to the Past
September 3, 2014
Wurmser today is sympathetic to phasing out military aid to Israel, but he said there should be a few exceptions.Some of Israel’s Top Defenders Say It’s Time to End U.S. Aid
July 18, 2014
Sympathetic persons are apt to assume that every refined emotion must be ennobling.
There is no passion in your veins; it is only a sort of sympathetic selfishness.
This was Katherine Holroyd, a sympathetic observer and everybody's intimate.Viviette
William J. Locke
Life at both ends was the very school for quick, sympathetic Shakespeare.The Man Shakespeare
In this vast multitude every face was smiling, every heart beat with sympathetic joy.The Dream
- characterized by, feeling, or showing sympathy; understanding
- in accord with the subject's personality or mood; congeniala sympathetic atmosphere
- (when postpositive, often foll by to or towards) showing agreement (with) or favour (towards)sympathetic to the proposals
- anatomy physiol of or relating to the division of the autonomic nervous system that acts in opposition to the parasympathetic system accelerating the heartbeat, dilating the bronchi, inhibiting the smooth muscles of the digestive tract, etcCompare parasympathetic
- relating to vibrations occurring as a result of similar vibrations in a neighbouring bodysympathetic strings on a sitar
Word Origin and History for sympathetic
1640s, "pertaining to sympathy," from Modern Latin sympatheticus, from Greek sympathetikos, from sympathein, from sympathes "having a fellow feeling, affected by like feelings" (see sympathy). Meaning "having fellow feeling" is recorded from 1718. In anatomical sense, the word is attested from 1769, from Modern Latin (nervus) sympathicus, coined by Jacques-Benigne Winslow (1669-1760), Danish anatomist living in Paris. Related: Sympathetically.
- Of, relating to, or acting on the sympathetic nervous system.