Definition of empathy in English:

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empathy

Pronunciation: /ˈɛmpəθi/

noun

[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.

Usage

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).

Derivatives

empathist

noun

Origin

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

More
  • pathetic from late 16th century:

    ‘Affecting the emotions’ was the early sense of pathetic which came via late Latin from Greek pathētikos ‘sensitive’, based on pathos ‘suffering’ (M17th in English). Apathy (early 17th century) is from apathēs ‘without feeling’, and empathy (from em- ‘in’ and pathos ‘feeling’) was coined by physiologists in the early 20th century. See also sympathy

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: em|pathy

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