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A pseudo-Latin form of French compassionné, past participle of compassionner (feel sorry for).


  • (UK, adjective) IPA(key): /kəmˈpæʃənət/
  • (UK, verb) IPA(key): /kəmˈpæʃəneɪt/


compassionate (comparative more compassionate, superlative most compassionate)

  1. Having, feeling or showing compassion (to or toward someone).
    Synonyms: empathetic, sympathetic, ruthful
    The Compassionate, the All-Compassionate
    (names given to God in Islam)
    • 1611, John Donne, An Anatomy of the World, London: Samuel Macham,[1]
      As a compassionate Turcoyse which doth tell
      By looking pale, the wearer is not well,
    • 1675, Robert South, A Sermon preached at Christ-Church, in Twelve Sermons Preached upon Several Occasions, London: Thomas Bennett, 1692, p. 574,[2]
      [] there never was any heart truly great and generous, that was not also tender, and compassionate.
    • 1850, Charles Dickens, David Copperfield, London: Bradbury and Evans, Chapter 49, p. 502,[3]
      He was by nature so exceedingly compassionate of anyone who seemed to be ill at ease [] that he shook hands with Mr. Micawber, at least half-a-dozen times in five minutes.
    • 2007, Mohsin Hamid, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Orlando: Harcourt, Chapter 7, p. 99,[4]
      [] the compassionate pangs I felt for soon-to-be redundant workers were not overwhelming in their frequency; our job required a degree of commitment that left one with rather limited time for such distractions.
  2. Given to someone as an exception because of a family emergency or a death in their family.
    compassionate leave; a compassionate visa
  3. (obsolete) Inviting or asking for pity.
    Synonym: pitiable

Derived terms[edit]



compassionate (third-person singular simple present compassionates, present participle compassionating, simple past and past participle compassionated)

  1. (transitive, archaic) To feel compassion (for someone or with regard to something); to regard (someone or something) with compassion.
    Synonyms: pity, feel sorry for
    • 1602, Thomas Lodge (translator), The Famous and Memorable Workes of Josephus, London: G. Bishop et al., Chapter 6, p. 733,[6]
      [] seeing them die so wofully in the flames, he compassionated them.
    • 1749, Henry Fielding, Tom Jones, Dublin: John Smith, Volume 1, Book 2, Chapter 6, p. 83,[7]
      The Justice which Mr. Allworthy had executed on Partridge, at first met with universal Approbation; but no sooner had he felt its Consequences, than his Neighbours began to relent, and to compassionate his Case;
    • 1794, William Godwin, Things as They Are; or, The Adventures of Caleb Williams, London: B. Crosby, Volume 2, Chapter 1, p. 4,[8]
      And yet I could not help bitterly compassionating the honest fellow, brought to the gallows, as he was, strictly speaking, by the machinations of that devil incarnate, Mr. Tyrrel.
    • 1847, Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre, London: Smith, Elder, Volume 1, Chapter 3, p. 38,[9]
      [] if she were a nice, pretty child, one might compassionate her forlornness; but one really cannot care for such a little toad as that.”
    • 1855, Frederick Douglass, chapter 17, in My Bondage and My Freedom, New York: Miller, Orton and Mulligan, page 236:
      I explained the circumstances of the past two days, which had driven me to the woods, and he deeply compassionated my distress.



Etymology 1[edit]



  1. inflection of compassionare:
    1. second-person plural present indicative
    2. second-person plural imperative

Etymology 2[edit]


compassionate f pl

  1. feminine plural of compassionato