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

  • adj. Of, expressing, feeling, or resulting from sympathy: a sympathetic glance.
  • adj. Favorably inclined: not at all sympathetic to her proposal.
  • adj. Agreeably suited to one's disposition or mood; congenial: sympathetic surroundings.
  • adj. Of, relating to, or acting on the sympathetic nervous system: a sympathetic neuron; sympathetic stimulation.
  • adj. 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.
  • adj. Emitting such vibrations: sympathetic strings.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Inclined to sympathy; sympathizing.
  • adj. Produced by, or expressive of, sympathy.
  • adj.
  • adj. Produced by sympathy; -- applied particularly to symptoms or affections. See Sympathy.
  • adj. 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.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • 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.
  • n. The sympathetic nervous system, or the sympathetic nerve.
  • n. One who is peculiarly susceptible, as to hypnotic or mesmeric influences; a sensitive.

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

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


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

Greek sumpathētikos, from sumpatheia, sympathy; see sympathy.


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

    Some Diversions of a Man of Letters

  • 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

  • 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

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

    CNN Transcript Oct 21, 2005

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

    The Fond du Lac Reporter Latest Headlines

  • 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

  • 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

  • Namely, that judges on this circuit are not following the law (perhaps in sympathetic cases?) and then, perhaps, time permitting, explaining how and perhaps speculating as towhy.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » Is the Sixth Now the “Most Reversed” Circuit?

  • I remain sympathetic to her lack of knowledge of her husband's false POW claims and and place responsibility on his failure to have truthfully and fully informed her of his military background prior to their fairly-recent marriage.

    Gerald Bluefeather Smith


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