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 affection of another, with feelings correspondent in kind, if not in degree; fellow-feeling. [1913 Webster]

They saw, but other sight instead -- a crowd Of ugly serpents! Horror on them fell, And horrid sympathy. --Milton. [1913 Webster]

2. An agreement of affections or inclinations, or a conformity of natural temperament, which causes persons to be pleased, or in accord, with one another; as, there is perfect sympathy between them. [1913 Webster]

3. Kindness of feeling toward one who suffers; pity; commiseration; compassion. [1913 Webster]

I value myself upon sympathy, I hate and despise myself for envy. --Kames. [1913 Webster]

4. (Physiol. & Med.) (a) The reciprocal influence exercised by organs or parts on one another, as shown in the effects of a diseased condition of one part on another part or organ, as in the vomiting produced by a tumor of the brain. (b) The influence of a certain psychological state in one person in producing a like state in another.

Note: In the original 1890 work, sense (b) was described as: ``That relation which exists between different persons by which one of them produces in the others a state or condition like that of himself. This is shown in the tendency to yawn which a person often feels on seeing another yawn, or the strong inclination to become hysteric experienced by many women on seeing another person suffering with hysteria.'' [Webster 1913 Suppl. +PJC]

5. A tendency of inanimate things to unite, or to act on each other; as, the sympathy between the loadstone and iron. [R.] [1913 Webster]

6. Similarity of function, use office, or the like. [1913 Webster]

The adverb has most sympathy with the verb. --Earle. [1913 Webster]

Syn: Pity; fellow-feeling; compassion; commiseration; tenderness; condolence; agreement.

Usage: {Sympathy}, {Commiseration}. Sympathy is literally a fellow-feeling with others in their varied conditions of joy or of grief. This term, however, is now more commonly applied to a fellow-feeling with others under affliction, and then coincides very nearly with commiseration. In this case it is commonly followed by for; as, to feel sympathy for a friend when we see him distressed. The verb sympathize is followed by with; as, to sympathize with a friend in his distresses or enjoyments. ``Every man would be a distinct species to himself, were there no sympathy among individuals.'' --South. See {Pity}. [1913 Webster]

Fault, Acknowledged and deplored, in Adam wrought Commiseration. --Milton. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.


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