[ sim-puh-thahy-zer ]
/ ˈsɪm pəˌθaɪ zər /
Save This Word!

a person who sympathizes.
Ophthalmology. an eye that exhibits ophthalmia because of disease or injury of the other.
Smoothly step over to these common grammar mistakes that trip many people up. Good luck!
Question 1 of 7
Fill in the blank: I can’t figure out _____ gave me this gift.

Origin of sympathizer

First recorded in 1805–15; sympathize + -er1

OTHER WORDS FROM sympathizer

non·sym·pa·thiz·er, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does sympathizer mean?

Sympathizer most commonly refers to someone who is supportive of or loyal to someone or something, such as a leader or cause.

The verb sympathize most commonly means to feel sympathy with someone—to share their emotions, especially sadness. This is usually understood to mean that you feel bad for them because they are in a negative situation. The word sympathizer can be used to mean someone who sympathizes in this way. It can also refer to someone who offers their sympathies or condolences, such as to someone who is in mourning.

But sympathizer is especially used to refer to someone who identifies with, supports, or is sympathetic toward a certain cause. This sense of the word is usually used in a negative way to criticize such support, and often implies that such support is secret or at least not fully open. This is the way the word is used in the phrase Communist sympathizer.

Example: We condemn not only the people directly responsible for these attacks but also their sympathizers.

Where does sympathizer come from?

The first records of the word sympathizer come from the early 1800s. The first known use of the word is by Jane Austen in her 1816 novel Emma. Sympathize is first recorded in the late 1500s and its base word, sympathy, comes from the Greek sympátheia, from sym-, “with,” and páth(os), “suffering.”

A sympathizer can be anyone who shows sympathy toward others. But it is most commonly used to refer to a person who identifies with or secretly supports a cause or ideology that the speaker is critical of. The most well-known use of the word is perhaps in Communist sympathizer, which gained use in the U.S. during the 1940s and ’50s. In the ’50s, it was used by Joseph McCarthy during his notorious investigations of alleged Communist infiltration in the U.S. government, when so-called Communist sympathizers were targeted for various forms of discrimination.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to sympathizer?

What are some synonyms for sympathizer?

What are some words that share a root or word element with sympathizer

What are some words that often get used in discussing sympathizer?

How is sympathizer used in real life?

Sympathizer is usually used in a negative way that’s critical of a person’s beliefs.



Try using sympathizer!

Is sympathizer used correctly in the following sentence?

He has broad support, but he has lost some sympathizers due to the scandal.

How to use sympathizer in a sentence