[ par-uh-sim-puh-thet-ik ]
/ ˌpær əˌsɪm pəˈθɛt ɪk /

adjective Anatomy, Physiology,

pertaining to that part of the autonomic nervous system consisting of nerves and ganglia that arise from the cranial and sacral regions and function in opposition to the sympathetic system, as in inhibiting heartbeat or contracting the pupil of the eye.

Origin of parasympathetic

First recorded in 1900–05; para-1 + sympathetic Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for parasympathetic

British Dictionary definitions for parasympathetic


/ (ˌpærəˌsɪmpəˈθɛtɪk) /


anatomy physiol of or relating to the division of the autonomic nervous system that acts in opposition to the sympathetic system by slowing the heartbeat, constricting the bronchi of the lungs, stimulating the smooth muscles of the digestive tract, etcCompare sympathetic (def. 4)
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 parasympathetic



1905, from para- (1) "beside" + sympathetic.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for parasympathetic


[ păr′ə-sĭm′pə-thĕtĭk ]


Of, relating to, or affecting the parasympathetic nervous system.
Related formspar′a•sym′pa•theti•cal•ly adv.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.