Definition of sympathy in English:
noun (plural sympathies)[mass noun]
- From this side of the water, one can have some sympathy with that frustration.
- I have considerable sympathy with Mr S on this aspect of the case.
- I have absolute sympathy with the friends and families of anyone that's suffered in anything like this.
- Our sympathies and condolences go to the victims of this incident and the people of London.
- Our condolences and sympathies go to the families of the Hon John Falloon and Jack Luxton.
- In this case, one's sympathies go out to the performers who have a living to earn.
- Understanding begins with sympathy - recognition of the shared human condition.
- To receive, you must give, and not just in words and gestures but in true sympathy, understanding and commitment.
- He feels that he is receiving less than his share and that there is no one on whom he can rely for sympathy and understanding.
- The Duke of Windsor - for years held up as a romantic figure who abdicated for love - shared those sympathies.
- He also supports Glasgow Rangers, while he's also got Chelsea sympathies.
- In both, secessionist sympathies are much wider than support for terrorism and have a much longer history.
- However, such a claim is unlikely to attract judicial sympathy for two reasons.
- Keegan deserves a moment of sympathy for his honest comments, but not much more than a moment.
- An opinion poll last week showed there is widespread sympathy for the strikes.
- I long to live in a culture with which I feel in harmony and in sympathy.
- GMO products should exist in sympathy with the world's food chain.
- To begin with, it must be a quality scheme, with any new buildings being in sympathy with the area and with the Cathedral Close's distinct character.
- The inner ear has small hairs rooted in fluid and when tympanic responses from sound goes through three small bones the hairs vibrate, or oscillate in sympathy.
- Very few bells to be found on these rare instruments even if there are many strings vibrating in sympathy.
- And foreign creditors are getting a double whammy, as bond prices have begun to fall in sympathy with the dollar.
On the difference between sympathy and empathy, see empathy (usage).
Late 16th century (in sense 3): via Latin from Greek sumpatheia, from sumpathēs, from sun- 'with' + pathos 'feeling'.
This was first used to express ‘understanding between people’; it came via Latin from Greek sumpathēs (from sun- ‘with’ and pathos ‘feeling’). The word sympathize is from the same period in the sense ‘suffer with another person’. In the mid 17th century the adjective sympathetic (on the pattern of pathetic) joined this group of related words and meant ‘relating to a paranormal influence’; the phrase sympathetic magic illustrates its use in the context of magical ritual involving objects associated with an event.
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