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[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.
Also, especially British, sympathise.
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
  • We have little to do now but watch and sympathise, and give what little help we can.

  • 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
  • This may be; yet it is something to learn how to sympathise with happiness.

    Robert Orange John Oliver Hobbes
  • I sympathise somewhat with the teachers in not speaking altogether freely in cases like these.

    Memoirs of an American Prima Donna Clara Louise Kellogg
  • Now Belinda had been made ugly in her cradle too, so she could sympathise as no one else could.

    The Magic World Edith Nesbit
  • 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
  • Am I to sympathise in the attraction this common little girl has for you?'

    Fraternity John Galsworthy
  • Believe me, I understand and sympathise with your hesitations.

    Cleo The Magnificent Louis Zangwill
  • He did not sympathise with me in my sorrows, neither did he speak one helpful word.

    The Birthright Joseph Hocking
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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