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


  • (UK, adjective) IPA(key): /kəmˈpæʃənət/
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  • (UK, verb) IPA(key): /kəmˈpæʃəneɪt/
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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[1], London: Samuel Macham:
      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.
    • 1849 May – 1850 November, Charles Dickens, chapter 49, in The Personal History of David Copperfield, London: Bradbury & Evans, [], published 1850, →OCLC, page 502:
      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, chapter 7, in The Reluctant Fundamentalist[3], Orlando: Harcourt, page 99:
      [] 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



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