- 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 sympathetically
Hellman's dishonesty in her later writing is sympathetically framed by the decades of criticism she had endured.Lillian Hellman, Clarence Birdseye and Thai Jones: Must Read Nonfiction
Victoria Beale, Wendy Smith, Kevin Canfield
May 17, 2012
"Better not try to describe her—while I'm by, you know," said Mrs. Drelmer, sympathetically.The Spenders
Harry Leon Wilson
"I wonder that you take her to drive with you," suggested Philip, sympathetically.Malbone
Thomas Wentworth Higginson
"I think that's a good mare of yours, Mr. Porter," said Crane, sympathetically.Thoroughbreds
W. A. Fraser
"I should say you've got a pretty good handful," Lady Pen said sympathetically.Jan and Her Job
L. Allen Harker
Polly squeezed it sympathetically, and told him how sorry she was for his accident.Polly of Lady Gay Cottage
Emma C. Dowd
- 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 sympathetically
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.