Common Senses: Pathos

Pathos means "feeling" in Greek. To touch up your vocabulary, tap these words: sentire, tangere
Here are links to more sensory stimulation: videre, specere, opsis, phone, audire, sonare

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. antipathy
    a feeling of intense dislike
    Why are fans supposed to feel antipathy for their local rivals?The Guardian (May 22, 2013)
    anti (against) + pathos (feeling)
    "Rival" comes from the Latin "rivus" meaning "stream" and the evolution of its meaning supports the example sentence's questioning of antipathy: rivals are neighbors who use the same stream, and this could result in antipathetic competition, but could also be a reason for cooperative companionship.
  2. apathy
    an absence of emotion or enthusiasm
    You are so bored you sink into a state of apathy close to a coma.Life of Pi
    a (without) + pathos (feeling)
    "Pathos" also means "suffering" so apathy was originally a desirable state. But as the example sentence suggests, apathy is now a negative state that connects the absence of suffering to a lack of life.
  3. empathy
    understanding and entering into another's feelings
    When your own life is threatened, your sense of empathy is blunted by a terrible, selfish hunger for survival.Life of Pi
    en (in) + pathos (feeling)
    The breakdowns of the words should help differentiate between feelings of empathy and sympathy. An empathetic person can understand and enter into another's feelings without ever having felt the same thing--similar to a viewer appreciating a piece of art by projecting own personality into the object.
  4. sympathy
    sharing the feelings of others, especially sorrow or anguish
    You envy his disciples, even as you may also feel a twinge of sympathy when their sincere best efforts fall short.New York Times (Jan 30, 2014)
    syn (with) + pathos (feeling)
    Compare with "empathy"--the preposition "with" is broader than "in" so sympathy can be sharing the feelings of one other person as well as sharing the opinion of a large group of people. The word also connects to an ancient belief that medicine for a wound would work better if applied with a cloth that's stained with blood from the wound.
  5. telepathy
    extrasensory communication from one mind to another
    This idea of "canine telepathy" has been suggested before--often, pet owners comment on how their dog seems to know what they're thinking.Time (Jun 13, 2011)
    tele (distant) + pathos (feeling)
    The definition and example sentence feel supernatural, but a possible explanation for "canine telepathy" is that dogs have sharper senses than humans. A similar word coined at the same time by a 19th century English psychologist is "telesthesia": "aisthesis" also means "feeling" in Greek and appears in "anesthesia" and "synesthesia."
  6. pathetic
    deserving or inciting pity
    “It’s a pathetic situation, helpless. They are crying and praying to God to save their daughters. If it was your child, how would you feel?”Salon (May 1, 2014)
    pathos (feeling) + etic (suffix forming adjectives)
    Here, the connection of "pathos" to suffering is evident and cries out for sympathy. But often, "pathetic" is used in a tone that calls for open disrespect or rejection.
  7. pathogen
    any disease-producing agent
    Most pathogens, such as influenza, need to invade you with an army of thousands to cause symptoms.Slate (Jan 30, 2014)
    pathos (feeling) + gen (suffix forming nouns about things that produce or cause)
    A broader definition of "pathos" that is suggested by this word is "what befalls one"--this could apply to feeling, suffering, calamity, or disease. This meaning is closely connected to the breakdown of "symptom" into its Greek roots: syn (together) + piptein (to fall).
  8. pathological
    caused by or evidencing a mentally disturbed condition
    We walk a thinning line between diagnosing illness and teaching our youth to view any emotional upset as pathological.New York Times (Apr 17, 2014)
    pathos (feeling) + logy (study) + ical (suffix forming adjectives)
    Although the example sentence focuses on emotional states, the broader meaning of "pathological" is also suggested: caused by or altered by or manifesting disease. There is also the negative sense of being morbid or excessive.
  9. psychopath
    a person with an antisocial personality disorder
    In fact, some people’s emotions are so disturbed after a night of sleep deprivation that they could be classified as psychopaths.Time (May 2, 2014)
    psyche (mind) + pathos (feeling)
    As suggested by the prefix, the word was originally used by spiritualists and mediums to connect to their psychic abilities.
  10. sociopath
    a person with an antisocial personality disorder
    Like children, sociopaths tend to put their own desires and well-being above those of others and often act on impulse without considering the repercussions.Scientific American (Aug 2, 2013)
    socio (social) + pathos (feeling)
    Although the example sentence compares children to sociopaths, a huge difference is the extent to which a person has been exposed to different social situations, yet still insists on ignoring the feelings of others.
  11. allopathy
    the usual method of treating disease with remedies that produce effects differing from those produced by the disease itself
    He said that the aim of allopathy was to poison him; of hydropathy to drown him; and of homeopathy to let him die unaided.Meredith, L. P.
    allos (other) + pathos (feeling)
    The definitions, breakdowns of the two words, and this example sentence seem to suggest that homeopathy is slightly better than allopathy. But "allopathy" is actually a homeopath's term for widely-practiced Western medicine that relies on drugs and surgeries to treat diseases.
  12. homeopathy
    a method of treating disease with small amounts of remedies that, in large amounts in healthy people, produce symptoms similar to those being treated
    Naturopathy typically involves a variety of treatment techniques including nutrition, behavioral changes, herbal medicine, homeopathy and acupuncture.Washington Post (Apr 28, 2014)
    homeo (of the same kind) + pathos (feeling)
    As suggested by its connection to naturopathy, homeopathy is seen as a more natural approach to treating diseases. Unlike vaccines that prevent disease, a homeopathic treatment would not be applied until after symptoms have already appeared.
  13. hydropathy
    the internal and external use of water in the treatment of disease
    Perhaps hydropathy’s most visible legacy is in the popularly held belief in drinking eight glasses of water a day.Slate (Feb 9, 2014)
    hydro (water) + pathos (feeling)
    Nowadays, hydropathy is no longer widely practiced because scientists have identified many diseases, such as cholera and hepatitis A, as being easily transmitted through water. Additionally, the belief in the healthful benefits of drinking 8 glasses of water a day has been challenged, especially since many foods contain water.
  14. neuropathy
    any pathology of the peripheral nerves
    People with diabetes often lose feeling in their feet as a result of nerve damage, known as neuropathy.Reuters (Apr 14, 2014)
    neuro (relating to the nervous system) + pathos (feeling)
    Compare with "neurosis": neuro (relating to the nervous system) + osis (suffix forming nouns about states, conditions, or diseases); unlike neuropathy, a neurosis is a disorder of the nervous system that connects mostly to the mind and often does not have any obvious physical cause.
  15. osteopathy
    therapy based on the assumption that restoring health is best accomplished by manipulating the skeleton and muscles
    The defendants included three medical doctors, a doctor of osteopathy and a chiropractor, the United States Department of Justice said in a news release.New York Times (Nov 2, 2011)
    osteon (bone) + pathos (feeling)
    The structure of the example sentence suggests that medical doctors are distinguished from doctors of osteopathy and from chiropractors. The similar manipulative therapy of the last two is emphasized by the breakdown of "chiropractor": chiro (hand) + praktikos (practical, vigorous, effective).

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.