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[adj. kuh m-pash-uh-nit; v. kuh m-pash-uh-neyt] /adj. kəmˈpæʃ ə nɪt; v. kəmˈpæʃ əˌneɪt/
having or showing compassion:
a compassionate person; a compassionate letter.
granted in an emergency:
compassionate military leave granted to attend a funeral.
Obsolete, pitiable.
verb (used with object), compassionated, compassionating.
Archaic. to pity or have compassion for.
Origin of compassionate
1580-90; compassion + -ate1
Related forms
compassionately, adverb
compassionateness, noun
uncompassionate, adjective
uncompassionately, adverb
uncompassionateness, noun
1. pitying, sympathizing, sympathetic, tender. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for compassionate
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Again the inspector looked at me with that compassionate expression that irritated me beyond words.

    A Chain of Evidence Carolyn Wells
  • He was quite incapable of any compassionate feeling about the boy, or about his fate.

    A Tale of Two Cities Charles Dickens
  • compassionate Columbia simply must not waddle when she pokes her horn of plenty at famine-stricken China.

    Linda Lee, Incorporated Louis Joseph Vance
  • Not one to save her,––not one of all the compassionate people!

    Poems William D. Howells
  • And Emma- granted the request of the ever-loving and compassionate God, and the woman returned to the sunny world of Japan again.

    Myths & Legends of Japan F. Hadland (Frederick Hadland) Davis
British Dictionary definitions for compassionate


showing or having compassion
compassionate leave, leave granted, esp to a serviceman, on the grounds of bereavement, family illness, etc
Derived Forms
compassionately, adverb
compassionateness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for compassionate

1580s, from compassion + -ate (1). Related: Compassionately. Phrase compassionate conservatism in American political language recorded by 1992, popularized, if not coined, by Marvin Olasky, University of Texas at Austin instructor.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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