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See more synonyms for empathize on Thesaurus.com
verb (used without object), em·pa·thized, em·pa·thiz·ing.
  1. to experience empathy (often followed by with): His ability to empathize with people made him an excellent marriage counselor.
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Also especially British, em·pa·thise.

Origin of empathize

First recorded in 1920–25; empath(y) + -ize
Can be confusedempathize sympathize
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

sympathize, share, imagine, understand, comprehend

Examples from the Web for empathize

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • They weren't able to—to empathize the Martians, or whatever you call it.

    Duel on Syrtis

    Poul William Anderson

  • How ironic that the only people who can empathize with them are the Macedonians who share the same fear of being quartered.

    After the Rain

    Sam Vaknin

  • They empathize—that is, see through our eyes, feel with our fingertips—so that they perceive what we do.

    Breaking Point

    James E. Gunn

  • But Brion could empathize their feelings, the warmth of their intense relief and happiness.

    Planet of the Damned

    Harry Harrison

  • Yet Brion could empathize their feelings, the warmth of their intense relief and happiness.

    Sense of Obligation

    Henry Maxwell Dempsey (AKA Harry Harrison)

British Dictionary definitions for empathize



  1. (intr) to engage in or feel empathy
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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 empathize


1924, in psychology, from empathy + -ize. Related: Empathized; empathizing.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

empathize in Medicine


  1. To feel empathy in relation to another person.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.