- characterized by, proceeding from, exhibiting, or feeling sympathy; sympathizing; compassionate: a sympathetic listener.
- acting or affected by, of the nature of, or pertaining to a special affinity or mutual relationship; congenial: With their many similar tastes, he found her a most sympathetic companion.
- looking upon with favor (often followed by to or toward): She is sympathetic to the project.
- Anatomy, Physiology.
- pertaining to that part of the autonomic nervous system consisting of nerves that arise from the thoracic and lumbar regions of the spinal cord, and functioning in opposition to the parasympathetic system, as in stimulating heartbeat, dilating the pupil of the eye, etc.
- Obsolete.pertaining to the autonomic nervous system in its entirety.
- Physics. noting or pertaining to vibrations, sounds, etc., produced by a body as the direct result of similar vibrations in a different body.
Origin of sympathetic
SynonymsSee more synonyms for sympathetic on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for unsympathetic
This polarizing public profile positioned Harroun as an unsympathetic character as his case progressed through the U.S. courts.American Jihadist Who Fought in Syria Dies of an Overdose in Arizona
Anna Therese Day
April 10, 2014
Not that I'm unsympathetic to the plight of those who sit behind me.Should People Stop Reclining Their Seats?
February 20, 2013
We should be allowed to be unsympathetic characters, to be screw-ups, without it always being translated for us as mental illness.
She talks to Michele Filgate about diaries, sexism, and “unsympathetic characters.”
Murdoch semi-apologized, tweeting later that he “did not mean to be unsympathetic to 400 lb lady.”Rupert Murdoch’s Most Offensive Tweets
The Daily Beast
November 18, 2012
It was awkward that his own people were all of them so unsympathetic about the children.Jan and Her Job
L. Allen Harker
And this unsympathetic Sir Terence did not explain them to you?The Snare
“You can search me,” said Reid, in his careless, unsympathetic way.The Flockmaster of Poison Creek
George W. Ogden
And Charlie, with a sigh, looked around at the unsympathetic and hurrying throng.The Boy Settlers
Your nation is one always in rebellion against its unsympathetic governess.The Bondwoman
Marah Ellis Ryan
- not characterized by, feeling, or showing sympathy
- (when postpositive, often foll by to or towards) not showing agreement (with) or favour (towards)
- characterized by, feeling, or showing sympathy; understanding
- in accord with the subject's personality or mood; congeniala sympathetic atmosphere
- (when postpositive, often foll by to or towards) showing agreement (with) or favour (towards)sympathetic to the proposals
- anatomy physiol of or relating to the division of the autonomic nervous system that acts in opposition to the parasympathetic system accelerating the heartbeat, dilating the bronchi, inhibiting the smooth muscles of the digestive tract, etcCompare parasympathetic
- relating to vibrations occurring as a result of similar vibrations in a neighbouring bodysympathetic strings on a sitar
Word Origin and History for unsympathetic
1640s, "pertaining to sympathy," from Modern Latin sympatheticus, from Greek sympathetikos, from sympathein, from sympathes "having a fellow feeling, affected by like feelings" (see sympathy). Meaning "having fellow feeling" is recorded from 1718. In anatomical sense, the word is attested from 1769, from Modern Latin (nervus) sympathicus, coined by Jacques-Benigne Winslow (1669-1760), Danish anatomist living in Paris. Related: Sympathetically.
- Of, relating to, or acting on the sympathetic nervous system.