of, relating to, or characterized by empathy, the psychological identification with the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of others: a sensitive, empathetic school counselor.

Also em·path·ic [em-path-ik] /ɛmˈpæθ ɪk/.

Origin of empathetic

First recorded in 1930–35; empath(y) + -etic
Related formsem·pa·thet·i·cal·ly, em·path·i·cal·ly, adverbnon·em·path·ic, adjectivenon·em·path·i·cal·ly, adverb
Can be confusedempathetic sympathetic simpatico
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for empathic

compassionate, empathetic, feeling, sensitive, sympathetic

Examples from the Web for empathic

Contemporary Examples of empathic

Historical Examples of empathic

  • 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.

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

British Dictionary definitions for empathic


empathetic (ˌɛmpəˈθɛtɪk)


of or relating to empathy
Derived Formsempathically or 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

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