Sympathy is a feeling of pity or sense of compassion — it's when you feel bad for someone else who's going through something hard.

The ability to feel sympathy for others is a great part of what make us human, and it's what compels us to reach out and offer help. So have sympathy for people who confuse this word with empathy — they're awfully close in meaning. Feeling sympathy means you feel sorry for someone's situation, even if you've never been there yourself. Empathy is when you truly understand and can feel what another person is going though.

Definitions of sympathy

n sharing the feelings of others (especially feelings of sorrow or anguish)

fellow feeling
show 12 types...
hide 12 types...
a feeling of sympathy for someone or something
kind-heartedness, kindheartedness
sympathy arising from a kind heart
compassion, compassionateness
a deep awareness of and sympathy for another's suffering
commiseration, pathos, pity, ruth
a feeling of sympathy and sorrow for the misfortunes of others
a feeling of sympathetic understanding
understanding and entering into another's feelings
solicitousness, solicitude
a feeling of excessive concern
softheartedness, tenderness
a feeling of concern for the welfare of someone (especially someone defenseless)
your deepest feelings of love and compassion
kindheartedness through maturity or old age
tenderheartedness, tenderness
warm compassionate feelings
mercifulness, mercy
the feeling that motivates compassion
Type of:
the experiencing of affective and emotional states

n a relation of affinity or harmony between people; whatever affects one correspondingly affects the other

“the two of them were in close sympathy
mutual affection, mutual understanding
sympathy of each person for the other
Type of:
affinity, kinship
a close connection marked by community of interests or similarity in nature or character

n an inclination to support or be loyal to or to agree with an opinion

“his sympathies were always with the underdog”
Type of:
disposition, inclination, tendency
an attitude of mind especially one that favors one alternative over others

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.