April 12, 2013
sympathy (noun)
\SIM-puh-thee\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
1 : a relationship between persons or things in which whatever affects one also affects the other2 a : the readiness to think or feel alike that makes for a common bond b : readiness to favor or support3 : the act of or capacity for entering into or sharing the feelings or interests of another4 : a showing of sorrow for another's loss, grief, or misfortune
How do you use it?
When Gabriela's dog ran away, everyone was full of sympathy for her.
Are you a word wiz?

Our word "sympathy" originated from the Greek root "pathos." What do you think the ancient Greeks used "pathos" to refer to?

Don't be sad if you chose answer B because that is correct! "Sympathy" traces to a combination of the Greek prefix "syn-" meaning with, and the root "pathos," meaning "feelings, emotion, experience." If you have the feeling that there are other words in English that come from the "pathos" family, you're right. "Pathos" itself in one; it means "an element in life or in artistic representation of it that moves one to pity." "Empathy," meaning being aware of someone's feelings is another example, as in "apathy" which means a feeling or of interest.
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