Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Alternative forms[edit]


(This etymology is missing or incomplete. Please add to it, or discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium.)


  • IPA(key): /ˌsɪmpəˈθɛtɪk/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛtɪk


sympathetic (comparative more sympathetic, superlative most sympathetic)

  1. of, related to, showing, or characterized by sympathy
    • 1963, C.L.R. James, The Black Jacobins, 2nd Revised edition, page 14:
      Vaublanc, in San Domingo so sympathetic to the sorrows of labour in France, had to fly from Paris in August, 1792, to escape the wrath of the French workers.
    John looked very upset. I gave him a sympathetic look.
    Antonym: unsympathetic
  2. relating to similarity
    Sympathetic magic is based on imitation or correspondence.
  3. (physiology) relating to the sympathetic nervous system
    Sympathetic innervation involves epinephrine.
    Antonym: parasympathetic
  4. Relating to sounds induced by vibrations conveyed through a fluid or gas from a body already in vibration.
  5. Of magic, a supernatural connection or power resulting from two items having the same form or some other correspondence.
    • 1936, Rollo Ahmed, The Black Art, London: Long, page 225:
      One of his great enthusiasms was for a "sympathetic" weapon salve, an idea originating in Paracelsus.

Derived terms[edit]