from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Of, expressing, feeling, or resulting from sympathy.
  • adjective Favorably inclined.
  • adjective Agreeably suited to one's disposition or mood; congenial.
  • adjective Of, relating to, or acting on the sympathetic nervous system.
  • adjective Relating to or being vibrations, especially musical tones, produced in one body by energy from a nearby vibrating body and having the same frequency as the vibration of the nearby body.
  • adjective Emitting such vibrations.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Pertaining to, expressive of, proceeding from, or exhibiting sympathy, in any sense; attended with sympathy.
  • Having sympathy or common feeling with another; susceptible of being affected by feelings like those of another, or of altruistic feelings which arise as a consequence of what another feels.
  • Harmonious; concordant; congenial.
  • In anatomy and zoology, effecting a sympathy or consentaneous affection of the viscera and blood-vessels; uniting viscera and blood-vessels in a nervous action common to them all; inhibitory of or controlling the vital activities of viscera and blood-vessels, which are thereby subjected to a common nervous influence; specifically, of or pertaining to a special set of nerves or nervous system called the sympathetic. See below.
  • In acoustics, noting sounds induced not by a direct vibration-producing force, but by vibrations conveyed through the air or other medium from a body already in vibration. The phenomena of resonance are properly examples of sympathetic sound.
  • of four pairs of cranial ganglia;
  • of three great gangliated plexuses or sympathetic plexuses, in the thoracic, abdominal, and pelvic cavities respectively;
  • of smaller ganglia in connection with the abdominal and other viscera;
  • of communicating nerves or commissures, whereby these ganglia or plexuses are connected with one another and with nerves of the cerebrospinal system;
  • of distributory nerves supplying the viscera and vessels, whereby the sympathetic reaches all parts of the body. See ganglion and plexus.
  • In invertebrates, as Vermes, a posterior part of the visceral nervous system, passing on to the enteric tube, and corresponding to a true enteric nervous system: so called in view of its physiological relations, without reference to the actual homology implied with the sympathetic system of a vertebrate.
  • noun The sympathetic nervous system, or the sympathetic nerve.
  • noun One who is peculiarly susceptible, as to hypnotic or mesmeric influences; a sensitive.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Inclined to sympathy; sympathizing.
  • adjective Produced by, or expressive of, sympathy.
  • adjective Produced by sympathy; -- applied particularly to symptoms or affections. See Sympathy.
  • adjective Of or relating to the sympathetic nervous system or some of its branches; produced by stimulation on the sympathetic nervious system or some part of it.
  • adjective (Chem.) See under Ink.
  • adjective (Anat.) any nerve of the sympathetic system; especially, the axial chain of ganglions and nerves belonging to the sympathetic system.
  • adjective (Alchemy) a kind of powder long supposed to be able to cure a wound if applied to the weapon that inflicted it, or even to a portion of the bloody clothes.
  • adjective (Physics) sounds produced from solid bodies by means of vibrations which have been communicated to them from some other sounding body, by means of the air or an intervening solid.
  • adjective (Anat.) a system of nerves and nerve ganglions connected with the alimentary canal, the vascular system, and the glandular organs of most vertebrates, and controlling more or less their actions. The axial part of the system and its principal ganglions and nerves are situated in the body cavity and form a chain of ganglions on each side of the vertebral column connected with numerous other ganglions and nerve plexuses.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Of, related to, showing, or characterized by sympathy.
  • adjective Of or relating to similarity.

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

  • adjective of or relating to the sympathetic nervous system
  • adjective showing or motivated by sympathy and understanding and generosity
  • adjective (of characters in literature or drama) evoking empathic or sympathetic feelings
  • adjective relating to vibrations that occur as a result of vibrations in a nearby body
  • adjective expressing or feeling or resulting from sympathy or compassion or friendly fellow feelings; disposed toward
  • adjective having similar disposition and tastes


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

[Greek sumpathētikos, from sumpatheia, sympathy; see sympathy.]


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  • A biographer should be sympathetic; not blind, not indulgent, but _sympathetic_.

    Some Diversions of a Man of Letters Edmund Gosse 1888

  • Fandral, his expression sympathetic, interjected, You are weary, Hamuul, and I have been remiss in my treatment of you.


  • Fandral, his expression sympathetic, interjected, You are weary, Hamuul, and I have been remiss in my treatment of you.


  • Fandral, his expression sympathetic, interjected, You are weary, Hamuul, and I have been remiss in my treatment of you.


  • The suit glanced over, his expression sympathetic.

    Deception Plan Patrick A. Davis 2006

  • Sometimes, when you do render safe procedure like this and use a disruptor, sometimes there will be what they call a sympathetic detonation, where if it was a real bomb, sometimes it will go ahead and, you know, set that off.

    CNN Transcript Oct 21, 2005 2005

  • And sometimes you would get what they call a sympathetic detonation.

    CNN Transcript Oct 21, 2005 2005

  • Todd Thomas faulted the press for what he described as a sympathetic portrayal of Becker.

    The Fond du Lac Reporter Latest Headlines 2010

  • The transference of a vibration from one violin to another is called a sympathetic resonance, and it is possible only if both instruments are tuned.

    The Bushman Way of Tracking God PhD Bradford Keeney 2010

  • The character I find most sympathetic is the president of Harvard, Lawrence Summers, onetime Clinton's treasury secretary and a rather dubious figure in some ways.

    The Social Network – review Philip French 2010


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