sympathy

[sim-puh-thee]
noun, plural sympathies.
1.
harmony of or agreement in feeling, as between persons or on the part of one person with respect to another.
2.
the harmony of feeling naturally existing between persons of like tastes or opinion or of congenial dispositions.
3.
the fact or power of sharing the feelings of another, especially in sorrow or trouble; fellow feeling, compassion, or commiseration.
4.
sympathies.
a.
feelings or impulses of compassion.
b.
feelings of favor, support, or loyalty: It's hard to tell where your sympathies lie.
5.
favorable or approving accord; favor or approval: He viewed the plan with sympathy and publicly backed it.
6.
agreement, consonance, or accord.
7.
Psychology. a relationship between persons in which the condition of one induces a parallel or reciprocal condition in another.
8.
Physiology. the relation between parts or organs whereby a condition or disorder of one part induces some effect in another.
adjective
9.
expressing sympathy: a sympathy card; a sympathy vote.

Origin:
1560–70; < Latin sympathīa < Greek sympátheia, equivalent to sympathe-, stem of sympathḗs sympathetic (sym- sym- + páth(os) suffering, sensation + -ēs adj. suffix) + -ia -y3

nonsympathy, noun, plural nonsympathies.
presympathy, noun
supersympathy, noun, plural supersympathies.

empathy, sympathy (see synonym study at the current entry).


1. concord, understanding, rapport, affinity. Sympathy, compassion, pity, empathy all denote the tendency, practice, or capacity to share in the feelings of others, especially their distress, sorrow, or unfulfilled desires. Sympathy is the broadest of these terms, signifying a general kinship with another's feelings, no matter of what kind: in sympathy with her yearning for peace and freedom; to extend sympathy to the bereaved. Compassion implies a deep sympathy for the sorrows or troubles of another coupled to a powerful urge to alleviate the pain or distress or to remove its source: to show compassion for homeless refugees. Pity usually suggests a kindly, but sometimes condescending, sorrow aroused by the suffering or ill fortune of others, often leading to a show of mercy: tears of pity for war casualties; to have pity on a thief driven by hunger. Empathy most often refers to a vicarious participation in the emotions, ideas, or opinions of others, the ability to imagine oneself in the condition or predicament of another: empathy with those striving to improve their lives; to feel empathy with Hamlet as one watches the play.
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World English Dictionary
sympathy (ˈsɪmpəθɪ)
 
n , pl -thies
1.  the sharing of another's emotions, esp of sorrow or anguish; pity; compassion
2.  an affinity or harmony, usually of feelings or interests, between persons or things: to be in sympathy with someone
3.  mutual affection or understanding arising from such a relationship; congeniality
4.  the condition of a physical system or body when its behaviour is similar or corresponds to that of a different system that influences it, such as the vibration of sympathetic strings
5.  (sometimes plural) a feeling of loyalty, support, or accord, as for an idea, cause, etc
6.  physiol the mutual relationship between two organs or parts whereby a change in one has an effect on the other
 
[C16: from Latin sympathīa, from Greek sumpatheia, from sumpathēs, from syn- + pathos suffering]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

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 pathos). In English,
almost a magical notion at first; e.g. in reference to medicines that heal wounds when applied to a cloth stained with blood from the wound. Meaning "conformity of feelings" is from 1590s; sense of "fellow feeling" is first attested 1660s.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

sympathy sym·pa·thy (sĭm'pə-thē)
n.

  1. A relation between parts or organs by which a disease or disorder in one induces an effect in the other.

  2. Mental contagion, as in yawning induced by seeing another person yawn.

  3. Mutual understanding or affection arising from a relationship or an affinity, in which whatever affects one correspondingly affects the other.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Example sentences
Moreover, the ethical aspects of literature help to inform one's conscience and
  deeds beyond mere sympathies.
Not that you will ever mistake the slant of his sympathies.
There is never any real question, in the film, that she is someone worthy of
  our sympathies and affection.
But of late, since the night of his vigil, all her sympathies towards him had
  been both softened and invigorated.
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