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[sim-puh-thahyz] /ˈsɪm pəˌθaɪz/
verb (used without object), sympathized, sympathizing.
to be in sympathy or agreement of feeling; share in a feeling (often followed by with).
to feel a compassionate sympathy, as for suffering or trouble (often followed by with).
to express sympathy or condole (often followed by with).
to be in approving accord, as with a person or cause:
to sympathize with a person's aims.
to agree, correspond, or accord.
Also, especially British, sympathise.
Origin of sympathize
1580-90; < Middle French sympathiser, equivalent to sympath(ie) sympathy + -iser -ize
Related forms
sympathizingly, adverb
nonsympathizing, adjective
nonsympathizingly, adverb
presympathize, verb (used without object), presympathized, presympathizing.
unsympathized, adjective
unsympathizing, adjective
unsympathizingly, adverb
Can be confused
empathize, sympathize.
4. understand, approve, favor, back, support. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for sympathizing
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Innkeepers harboured and assisted the highwaymen, sympathizing with them, and frequently sharing in the plunder.

  • The chase was at last over, and the huntsmen all in, sympathizing with their lost companion.

    Clotelle William Wells Brown
  • All the girls, and many of the boys, gathered around him, sympathizing with his triumph and complimenting him upon his abilities.

    Ishmael Mrs. E. D. E. N. Southworth
  • Mr. Loraine proved to be all I had wished him to be—sympathizing, noble, and decided.

    Seek and Find Oliver Optic
  • "This is a sad day for you, Master Jasper," said the sympathizing servant.

    Frank and Fearless Horatio Alger Jr.
  • "I don't think I should like to be a stone-mason," he said, in a sympathizing tone.

    Berties Home Madeline Leslie
  • "Please, sir, I was sympathizing with Ropes on his losing his money," said Bundy with ready wit.

    Cast Upon the Breakers Horatio Alger
  • Mrs. Staines is an admiring, sympathizing wife, and an admirable housekeeper.

    A Simpleton Charles Reade
British Dictionary definitions for sympathizing


verb (intransitive) often foll by with
to feel or express compassion or sympathy (for); commiserate: he sympathized with my troubles
to share or understand the sentiments or ideas (of); be in sympathy (with)
Derived Forms
sympathizer, sympathiser, 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 sympathizing



"to have fellow-feeling," c.1600; see sympathy + -ize. Related: Sympathized; sympathizing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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