Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Identification with and understanding of another's situation, feelings, and motives. See Synonyms at pity.
  • n. The attribution of one's own feelings to an object.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. the intellectual identification of the thoughts, feelings, or state of another person
  • n. capacity to understand another person's point of view or the result of such understanding
  • n. a paranormal ability to psychically read another person's emotions

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. understanding and entering into another's feelings

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

en-2 + -pathy (translation of German Einfühlung).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

A twentieth-century borrowing of Ancient Greek ἐμπάθεια (empatheia, literally "passion") (formed from ἐν (en-, "in, at") + πάθος (pathos, "feeling")), coined by Edward Bradford Titchener to translate German Einfühlung. The modern Greek word εμπάθεια has an opposite meaning denoting strong negative feelings and prejudice against someone.

Examples

  • The term empathy first appeared in the work of a German psychologist, Theodore Lipps, toward the end of the nineteenth century.

    Red Flags or Red Herrings?

  • For many conservatives, empathy is code for caring too much about, and being too soft on, woman and minorities.

    Barry Schwartz: Partial Justice

  • It is legitimate to be afraid that empathy is code for results-oriented jurisprudence, but empathy does not have to be such a codeword.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » Legal Ambiguity, Empathy, and the Role of Judicial Power:

  • GILLESPIE: Well, it was also consistent with President Obama's use of the phrase -- use of the term empathy, and it implied -- it played into a notion that this is going to be a judge who's going to have personal feelings play a role in judgment.

    CNN Transcript May 31, 2009

  • You know, I think this is a good conversation for us to be having, and for us to think about what President Obama meant when he used the term empathy, what it means for a judge to have empathy.

    CNN Transcript Jul 13, 2009

  • "I do not think it correct to use the term 'empathy' as the ability to gauge someone's feelings from a picture," said Dr. Kent Holtorf, founder of Holtorf Medical Group, which has offices in Foster City, Calif., Torrance, Calif. and St. Joseph, Mo.

    msnbc.com: Top msnbc.com headlines

  • His confession reveals that while in the past the Living Constitution's acolytes sought to achieve the amorphous goals of "social justice, brotherhood, and human dignity," a President Obama will feed the beast with what's left of individual rights and limited government, all in the name of "empathy" - a code word for something much darker: sacrifice of true constitutionalism to the needs of society's perceived victims

    The Two Malcontents

  • His confession reveals that while in the past the Living Constitution's acolytes sought to achieve the amorphous goals of "social justice, brotherhood, and human dignity," a President Obama will feed the beast with what's left of individual rights and limited government, all in the name of "empathy" -- a code word for something much darker: sacrifice of true constitutionalism to the needs of society's perceived victims

    ChronWatch - Articles

  • I believe his new founded interest in them was what they call empathy?

    Corpus of a Siam Mosquito

  • Most people don't associate the word "empathy" with effective leadership.

    Forbes.com: News

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