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Line breaks: em|pathy
Pronunciation: /ˈɛmpəθi

Definition of empathy in English:


[mass noun]
The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
Example sentences
  • Such a metaphor betrays a complete lack of understanding, of empathy with Victorian culture.
  • There is a frightening lack of empathy and of understanding of the condition of the elderly.
  • A little bit of empathy and understanding might go a long way in making their life easier.


early 20th century: from Greek empatheia (from em- 'in' + pathos 'feeling') translating German Einfühlung.


People often confuse the words empathy and sympathy. Empathy means ‘the ability to understand and share the feelings of another’ (as in both authors have the skill to make you feel empathy with their heroines), whereas sympathy means ‘feelings of pity and sorrow for someone else’s misfortune’ (as in they had great sympathy for the flood victims).



Pronunciation: /-ˈθɛtɪk/
Example sentences
  • We need a local management that understands the Scottish marketplace and is sensitive and empathetic to the concerns and aspirations of this country.
  • Alert, efficient and empathetic, a mother's mind is designed to make the species survive.
  • Fathers are not perceived as empathetic listeners in the same way that mothers are.


Pronunciation: /-ˈθɛtɪk(ə)li/
Example sentences
  • She has found her pupils acting more empathetically towards each other, as well as aggressive and behavioural problems decreasing since she started massage in the classroom in 1998.
  • There can be discussion without participants responding empathetically to one another, but then it is discussion, not dialogue.
  • Second, he enters into the minds and hearts of ‘typical’ actors, empathetically recreating their motivations and the plausibility and significance of their actions.


Pronunciation: /ɛmˈpaθɪk/
Example sentences
  • It has been suggested that females are socialized to be more interpersonally sensitive and empathic.
  • The key turning point for most respondents was the empathic, nurturing support of a patient parent, boyfriend, or friend.
  • Such teachers were found to be consistently positive and empathic, and they demonstrated respect and concern for the students.


Pronunciation: /ɛmˈpaθ-/
Example sentences
  • And then you have to listen empathically, without criticism.
  • Elsewhere I have described the self-centered and narrowly concrete view of the world that results from the failure to imagine empathically another's inner states, and its interpersonal consequences.
  • Properly taught, literature and history can cultivate the sympathetic imagination, the capacity to leave one's own world and empathically experience lives in other times and cultures.

Definition of empathy in:

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