Denotation vs. Connotation


or (especially British) sympathise

[sim-puh-thahyz] /ˈsɪm pəˌθaɪz/
verb (used without object), sympathized, sympathizing.
to be in sympathy or agreement of feeling; share in a feeling (often followed by with).
to feel a compassionate sympathy, as for suffering or trouble (often followed by with).
to express sympathy or condole (often followed by with).
to be in approving accord, as with a person or cause:
to sympathize with a person's aims.
to agree, correspond, or accord.
Origin of sympathize
1580-90; < Middle French sympathiser, equivalent to sympath(ie) sympathy + -iser -ize
Related forms
sympathizingly, adverb
nonsympathizing, adjective
nonsympathizingly, adverb
presympathize, verb (used without object), presympathized, presympathizing.
unsympathized, adjective
unsympathizing, adjective
unsympathizingly, adverb
Can be confused
empathize, sympathize.
4. understand, approve, favor, back, support. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for sympathise
Historical Examples
  • And here we venture to say that we sympathise with the joy of the British on this occasion, and shall explain why we do so.

    The Battle and the Breeze R.M. Ballantyne
  • You know it is a capital crime, to mourn for, or sympathise with, a victim of the Guillotine.

    A Tale of Two Cities Charles Dickens
  • Rousseau's letter to d'Alembert contains the genuine criticism of the theatre, with which no born dramatist can sympathise.

    August Strindberg, the Spirit of Revolt L. (Lizzy) Lind-af-Hageby
  • But I haven't forgotten how it felt to be hard up, and I sympathise with those who are.

    One Day's Courtship Robert Barr
  • I sympathise somewhat with the teachers in not speaking altogether freely in cases like these.

    Memoirs of an American Prima Donna Clara Louise Kellogg
  • They reminded her of sorrows in which I have since painfully learned to sympathise.

  • I sympathise with your disappointment; but, believe me, Lettice should never have any reason to regret her choice.

    Sisters Three Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey
  • He felt that now, at last, he knew his mother and could sympathise with her and love her.

    Changing Winds St. John G. Ervine
  • Believe me, I understand and sympathise with your hesitations.

    Cleo The Magnificent Louis Zangwill
  • Here were none to sympathise, none to summon him to new relations or recall the old.

    The Prisoner Alice Brown
British Dictionary definitions for sympathise


verb (intransitive) often foll by with
to feel or express compassion or sympathy (for); commiserate: he sympathized with my troubles
to share or understand the sentiments or ideas (of); be in sympathy (with)
Derived Forms
sympathizer, sympathiser, 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 sympathise

chiefly British English spelling of sympathize (q.v.); for suffix, see -ize. Related: Sympathised; sympathising.



"to have fellow-feeling," c.1600; see sympathy + -ize. Related: Sympathized; sympathizing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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