noun, plural sym·pa·thies.
- feelings or impulses of compassion.
- feelings of favor, support, or loyalty: It's hard to tell where your sympathies lie.
VIDEO FOR SYMPATHY
WATCH NOW: What Is The Real Difference Between "Empathy" And "Sympathy"?
Empathy and sympathy both describe feelings, especially toward another person. But what is the real difference between them?
QUIZ YOURSELF ON “THEIR,” “THERE,” AND “THEY’RE”
Origin of sympathy
synonym study for sympathy
OTHER WORDS FROM sympathynon·sym·pa·thy, noun, plural non·sym·pa·thies.pre·sym·pa·thy, nounsu·per·sym·pa·thy, noun, plural su·per·sym·pa·thies.
WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH sympathyempathy, sympathy (see synonym study at the current entry)
Words nearby sympathy
What does sympathy mean?
Sympathy most commonly means the sharing of emotions with someone else, especially sadness.
This is usually understood to mean that you feel bad for them because they are in a negative situation.
Sympathy is sometimes used to mean compassion. The plural form sympathies refers to feelings of compassion, as in We need to offer our sympathies for their loss, or to support or loyalty, as in The governor has earned the sympathies of the working class.
Sympathy is also sometimes used in a general way to refer to agreement, as in Their political positions are largely in sympathy with each other.
Some people use the word sympathy interchangeably or in overlapping ways with the word empathy, which is the ability or practice of imagining or trying to deeply understand what someone else is feeling or what it’s like to be in their situation. However, others distinguish the two terms by emphasizing the importance of having empathy for others (feeling their pain) as opposed to having sympathy for them (feeling sorry for them).
Example: I’ve experienced the same thing, so I have sympathy for them.
Where does sympathy come from?
The first records of the word sympathy come from the late 1500s. It comes from the Greek sympátheia, from sym-, “with,” and páth(os), “suffering.”
Sympathy can refer to the sharing of any emotion, or even agreement in preferences or tastes. But we usually use the word sympathy specifically to mean the sharing of feelings of sadness with others. When we give someone a card that expresses our condolences after the death of a loved one, we call this a sympathy card. We usually give these cards to people when we didn’t know the person who died as well as they did—we may feel sad because they’re sad, but our level of grief does not match their own.
While having sympathy for someone often means pitying them or feeling bad for them, having empathy often means feeling or attempting to feel and understand exactly how a person feels and what it’s like to be them.
Did you know ... ?
What are some other forms related to sympathy?
What are some synonyms for sympathy?
What are some words that share a root or word element with sympathy?
What are some words that often get used in discussing sympathy?
What are some words sympathy may be commonly confused with?
How is sympathy used in real life?
Sympathy is often used in contexts involving the suffering and grief of others.
If you don’t have an ounce of sympathy, empathy, or kindness you should NOT be able to work in the medical field
— Tahira (@twinklytea) September 3, 2020
It blows my mind that people support known abusers consistently and then wonder why other victims of abuse don’t come forward. The fact that abusers that have been outed still have significant support invalidates any sympathy for their victims. Plain and simple.
— jon (@jonquilfreedman) August 10, 2018
We are deeply saddened to hear that former player Alan Hercher passed away earlier today. Alan played for Ross County between 1984-86.
Our sincere sympathy and heartfelt condolences go out to the family at this difficult time. RIP Herchie. pic.twitter.com/sM74rLynhn
— Ross County FC (@RossCounty) August 10, 2018
Try using sympathy!
Which of the following words is NOT a synonym of sympathy?
Example sentences from the Web for sympathy
Our hosts have plenty of sympathy for the Dodgers, a consistently great team whose time should be now.LeBron James Won It All Again, So Is The GOAT Debate Finally Over? LOL, No.|Sarah Shachat|October 13, 2020|FiveThirtyEight
All expressed sympathy for Mallott’s family, given his recent death, and acknowledged that he can no longer tell his side of the story.The Woman Propositioned by Alaska’s Former Lieutenant Governor Tells Her Story for the First Time|by Kyle Hopkins and Michelle Theriault Boots, Anchorage Daily News|September 10, 2020|ProPublica
I’m not asking for sympathy, but I don’t think people appreciate the fact that when you can’t walk down the street, you’re going friend or foe.
I’m not asking for sympathy here, but when someone thinks that you don’t care or that you don’t have the best intentions.
My deepest sympathy goes out to everyone who has lost a loved one and my prayers are with those who are ill or suffering.The moment Melania Trump became ‘mourner-in-chief’|Claire Zillman, reporter|August 26, 2020|Fortune
In the view of some cops, perps merit little concern or sympathy.‘I Can’t Breathe!’ ‘I Can’t Breathe!’ A Moral Indictment of Cop Culture|Michael Daly|December 4, 2014|DAILY BEAST
But among ferocious ideologues, similar roots are no guarantee of mutual sympathy when schisms occur.ISIS and Al Qaeda Ready to Gang Up on Obama's Rebels|Jamie Dettmer|November 11, 2014|DAILY BEAST
It would appear that when it came to the bottom line, Washington was not overflowing with sympathy.
In southern Turkey, some local officials in his Justice and Development Party (AKP) express sympathy for ISIS.Turkish President Declares Lawrence of Arabia a Bigger Enemy than ISIS|Jamie Dettmer|October 13, 2014|DAILY BEAST
She did not weep on cue in public when Monteith died, or seek sympathy.
He turned his eyes upon her; but no sympathy was in their beams; no belief in the semblance of her tears.The Pastor's Fire-side Vol. 3 of 4|Jane Porter
She fancied there was a sympathy of thought and taste between them, in which fancy she was mistaken.The Awakening and Selected Short Stories|Kate Chopin
The feeling for the tiny things probably has in it the warmth of a young personal sympathy.Children's Ways|James Sully
Tony, less self-centred, less rigidly contained, had penetrated her by an understanding sympathy greater than his own.The Wave|Algernon Blackwood
The gray eyes, once flashing with the light of kindly humor, now softened with sympathy, now glowed with pity.The Soldier of the Valley|Nelson Lloyd