sympathy Definition

  • 1feelings of pity and sorrow for someone else's misfortune
  • 2understanding between people; common feeling

Using sympathy: Examples

Take a moment to familiarize yourself with how "sympathy" can be used in various situations through the following examples!

  • Example

    I have sympathy for her loss.

  • Example

    He expressed his sympathy for the victims of the earthquake.

  • Example

    She showed great sympathy towards the homeless man.

  • Example

    The teacher had no sympathy for the student's excuses.

sympathy Synonyms and Antonyms

Antonyms for sympathy

Idioms Using sympathy

  • a vote cast not based on a candidate's qualifications, but out of sympathy for their personal situation


    She won the election thanks to the sympathy vote she received after her husband's death.

  • a phrase used to describe the act of showing understanding or compassion for someone who has done something wrong or evil


    Some people argue that the song 'Sympathy for the Devil' by the Rolling Stones is actually about understanding the motivations behind evil actions.

  • sympathy strike

    a strike undertaken in support of another group of workers who are already on strike


    The union voted to go on a sympathy strike with the workers at the factory across town.

Phrases with sympathy

  • to feel compassion or understanding for someone's situation


    I have sympathy for those who are struggling to make ends meet.

  • a card sent to express condolences or sympathy


    She received many sympathy cards after her father passed away.

  • physical discomfort felt in response to someone else's pain or discomfort


    When she saw her friend get hurt, she felt sympathy pains in her own body.

Origins of sympathy

from Greek 'sym' meaning 'together' and 'pathos' meaning 'feeling'


Summary: sympathy in Brief

The term 'sympathy' [ˈsɪmpəθi] refers to feelings of pity and sorrow for someone else's misfortune, as well as understanding and common feeling between people. It can be exemplified by phrases like 'have sympathy for,' and idioms like 'sympathy vote,' which refers to a vote cast out of sympathy for a candidate's personal situation. 'Sympathy' is often contrasted with 'apathy' or 'indifference.'

How do native speakers use this expression?