sympathy


sympathy
sympathy 1 *attraction, affinity
Analogous words: reciprocality, correspondence (see corresponding adjectives at RECIPROCAL): *harmony, consonance, accord, concord
Antonyms: antipathy
2 Sympathy, pity, compassion, commiseration, condolence, ruth, empathy are comparable though often not interchangeable when they mean a feeling for the suffering or distress of another.
Sympathy is the most general term, ranging in meaning from friendly interest or agreement in taste or opinion to emotional identification, often accompanied by deep tenderness
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sympathy with my desire to increase my . . . knowledge— Fairchild

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sympathies were . . . with the Roman Stoics— Ellis

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satire had its roots not in hatred but in sympathyPerry

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Pity has the strongest emotional connotation; the emotion may be one of tenderness, love, or respect induced by the magnitude of another's suffering or of fellowship with the sufferer
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pity is the feeling which arrests the mind in the presence of whatsoever is grave and constant in human sufferings and unites it with the human sufferer— Joyce

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pity that made you cry . . . not for this person or that person who is suffering, but . . . for the very nature of things. . . . out of pity comes the balm which heals— Saroyan

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Pity sometimes may suggest a tinge of contempt for one who is inferior whether because of suffering or from inherent weakness; there is also a frequent suggestion that the effect if not the purpose of pity is to keep the object in a weak or inferior state
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pity for the man who could think of nothing better—7. S. Eliot

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the parents of a crippled child should give him understanding and challenge rather than pity

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Compassion, which originally meant fellowship in suffering between equals, has come to denote imaginative or emotional sharing of the distress or misfortune of another or others who are considered or treated as equals; it implies tenderness and understanding as well as an urgent desire to aid and spare
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one of his neighbor women cooked a chicken and brought it in to him out of pure compassionCather

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with understanding, with compassion (so different from pity) she shows the sordid impact ... on the lives of the natives— Campion

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when Jesus came in his gentleness with his divine compassionBridges

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but while compassion suggests a greater dignity in the object than pity often does, it also implies a greater detachment in the subject
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as a priest he regards all history from that eminence of spiritual objectivity which is called compassionAlbright

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Commiseration and condolence agree in placing the emphasis on expression of a feeling for another's affliction, rather than on the feeling itself.
Commiseration denotes a spontaneous and vocal expression, often one made in public or by a crowd
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there was a murmur of commiseration as Charles Darnay crossed the room . . . the soft and compassionate voices of women— Dickens

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Condolence denotes a formal expression of sympathy especially for the loss of a relative through death and refers strictly to an observance of etiquette without an implication as to the underlying feeling
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a condolence call

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they received many condolences

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Ruth denotes softening of a stern or indifferent disposition
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look homeward, Angel, now, and melt with ruthMilton

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Empathy, of all the terms here discussed, has the least emotional content; it describes a gift, often a cultivated gift, for vicarious feeling, but the feeling need not be one of sorrow; thus empathy is often used as a synonym for some senses of sympathy as well as in distinction from sympathy
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what he lacks is not sympathy but empathy, the ability to put himself in the other fellow's place— G. W. Johnson

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Empathy is frequently employed with reference to a nonhuman object (as a literary character or an idea, culture, or work of art)
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a fundamental component of the aesthetic attitude is sympathy, or—more accurately— empathy.

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In the presence of any work of art . . . the recipient . . . must surrender his independent and outstanding personality, to identify himself with the form or action presented by the artist— Read

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Analogous words: tenderness, warmheartedness, warmth, responsiveness (see corresponding adjectives at TENDER): kindliness, kindness, benignness, benignancy (see corresponding adjectives at KIND)

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • sympathy — sym‧pa‧thy [ˈsɪmpəθi] noun 1. come out in sympathy HUMAN RESOURCES if workers come out in sympathy with workers who strike (= refuse to work), they refuse to work as well: • The truck drivers are on strike, and other employees have downed tools ( …   Financial and business terms

  • Sympathy — Sym pa*thy, n.; pl. {Sympathies}. [F. sympathie, L. sympathia, Gr. ?; sy n with + ? suffering, passion, fr. ?, ?, to suffer. See {Syn }, and {Pathos}.] 1. Feeling corresponding to that which another feels; the quality of being affected by the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Sympathy — is a social affinity in which one person stands with another person, closely understanding his or her feelings. The word derives from the Greek συμπάθεια ( sympatheia ) [ [http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi… …   Wikipedia

  • sympathy — 1570s, affinity between certain things, from M.Fr. sympathie, from L.L. sympathia community of feeling, sympathy, from Gk. sympatheia, from sympathes having a fellow feeling, affected by like feelings, from syn together + pathos feeling (see… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Sympathy — ist ein Death Metal Projekt aus Kanada. Biografie Anfang der 90er Jahre gründete Dharok die Band Sympathy mit drei Freunden in Saskatchewan, Kanada. Zwei Jahre später, nach der ersten Demo Aufnahme und ein Debüt Album, verließen die drei Freunde… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • sympathy — [n1] shared feeling accord, affinity, agreement, alliance, attraction, benignancy, close relation, commiseration, compassion, concord, congeniality, connection, correspondence, empathy, feelings, fellow feeling, harmony, heart, kindliness,… …   New thesaurus

  • sympathy — ► NOUN (pl. sympathies) 1) feelings of pity and sorrow for someone else s misfortune. 2) understanding between people; common feeling. 3) support for or approval of something. 4) (in sympathy) relating harmoniously to something else; in keeping.… …   English terms dictionary

  • sympathy — index affinity (regard), concordance, condonation, goodwill, humanity (humaneness), lenience, pity …   Law dictionary

  • sympathy — see empathy …   Modern English usage

  • sympathy — [sim′pə thē] n. pl. sympathies [L sympathia < Gr sympatheia < syn , together + pathos, feeling: see PATHOS] 1. sameness of feeling; affinity between persons or of one person for another 2. Now Rare agreement in qualities; harmony; accord 3 …   English World dictionary


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