verb (used without object), sym·pa·thized, sym·pa·thiz·ing.

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, sym·pa·thise.

Origin of sympathize

1580–90; < Middle French sympathiser, equivalent to sympath(ie) sympathy + -iser -ize
Related formssym·pa·thiz·ing·ly, adverbnon·sym·pa·thiz·ing, adjectivenon·sym·pa·thiz·ing·ly, adverbpre·sym·pa·thize, verb (used without object), pre·sym·pa·thized, pre·sym·pa·thiz·ing.un·sym·pa·thized, adjectiveun·sym·pa·thiz·ing, adjectiveun·sym·pa·thiz·ing·ly, adverb
Can be confusedempathize sympathize

Synonyms for sympathize Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for sympathise

Historical Examples of sympathise

  • But on seeing the men, how well one understands, how fully one can sympathise!

  • You know it is a capital crime, to mourn for, or sympathise with, a victim of the Guillotine.

    A Tale of Two Cities

    Charles Dickens

  • But I haven't forgotten how it felt to be hard up, and I sympathise with those who are.

  • They reminded her of sorrows in which I have since painfully learned to sympathise.

  • He felt that now, at last, he knew his mother and could sympathise with her and love her.

    Changing Winds

    St. John G. Ervine

British Dictionary definitions for sympathise



verb (intr often foll by with)

to feel or express compassion or sympathy (for); commiseratehe sympathized with my troubles
to share or understand the sentiments or ideas (of); be in sympathy (with)
Derived Formssympathizer or 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

Word Origin and History for sympathise

chiefly British English spelling of sympathize (q.v.); for suffix, see -ize. Related: Sympathised; sympathising.



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper