Definition of sympathize in English:


(also sympathise)


  • 1Feel or express sympathy.

    ‘it is easy to understand and sympathize with his predicament’
    • ‘Movies have recognizable characters, people we can identify and sympathize with.’
    • ‘Without them, an audience would be hard pressed to sympathize with Walter without their reactions descending into pity.’
    • ‘I am a new reader to this website; I understand your frustration and can sympathize with your feelings.’
    • ‘How fortunate for him that Dobby is so clownish than no one need sympathize with him, much less identify with him.’
    • ‘First off, I wanted to tell his son that I can really sympathize with him.’
    • ‘His personal testimony let them sympathize with otherwise faceless, storyless soldiers.’
    • ‘And I sympathize with the state and with the governor, and I definitely do not envy his decision to do this.’
    • ‘However much I sympathize with your situation, I have to clarify your picture of the Bulgarian electricity sector.’
    • ‘Excessive harshness may alienate readers, and make them sympathize with your adversaries.’
    • ‘Adding to what Patrick said a moment ago, no parent should have to bury a child, and one has to sympathize with him in that respect.’
    • ‘There will be no one in the world who will sympathize with us.’
    • ‘Asked to identify and sympathize with him as the show's hero, viewers must confront a series of contradictions.’
    • ‘Not only do we accept them, but we sympathize with their actions because we identify with aspects of their personalities.’
    • ‘Despite the inconvenience, many sympathize with the strikers and public reception to the strike has been positive.’
    • ‘And you can sometimes sympathize with a person for feeling a certain pressure.’
    • ‘We sympathize with each of their stories, but once the truth is revealed, we're put in a difficult and uncomfortable position.’
    • ‘I certainly sympathize with someone that has to deal with someone who is brain dead and kept alive by machines.’
    • ‘Great advice givers understand where their friends are coming from and can sympathize with their friends' feelings.’
    • ‘However, Shinn has created a very believable future and characters that I could sympathize with.’
    • ‘Initially, we sympathize with him in his battles with his antagonistic neighbours and their unreasonable demands.’
    pity, be sorry for, feel sorry for, show sympathy for, be sympathetic towards, show compassion for, be compassionate towards, commiserate, offer condolences to, feel for, show concern, show interest
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  • 2Agree with a sentiment, opinion, or ideology.

    ‘they sympathize with critiques of traditional theory’
    • ‘In both cases, I strongly sympathize with the authors' respective messages.’
    • ‘I can totally understand and sympathize with both sides of this argument.’
    • ‘I therefore generally sympathize with schools' judgment calls in this area, even if they may seem excessive.’
    • ‘Even if you don't agree with him, it's not difficult to sympathise with the sentiment behind his off-the-cuff remark.’
    • ‘You can sympathize with all of the film's intentions while wishing for more objective, nuanced arguments.’
    • ‘I can sympathise with this opinion, but I do not agree with it, as I enjoy this hobby too much.’
    • ‘For the record, I think those laws are stupid, although I sympathize with their intent.’
    • ‘I can sympathize with his absolutist view regarding capital punishment, as did many in the Cuban leadership.’
    • ‘Lilith had sympathized with her opinion of them being dimwitted creatures that were destroying the earth.’
    • ‘Dethroned UK champion Mark Williams sympathised with the opinion of fellow shock second round loser Ken Doherty complaining that top 16 cuemen shouldn't have to play in the earlier rounds.’
    • ‘He rejects the attitude that if you try to explain the origins of terrorism you support it or sympathize with it.’
    • ‘I sympathize with the university's position, assuming that their reason for saying no is candid.’
    • ‘As a libertarian, I tend to sympathize with this logic without digging too deeply into the facts.’
    • ‘A lot of the Czech supporters or people who sympathize with the cause were outstanding.’
    • ‘Burke's execution was witnessed by the novelist Sir Walter Scott, who sympathized with the general opinion that both men's wives had served as accomplices, and that the anatomists had been accessories to the murders.’
    • ‘I sympathize with this stance, but I just don't think we're likely to attain this goal via war.’
    • ‘Boshra feels that most senior editors sympathize with the reporters' sentiments, but have more to lose if they speak out.’
    • ‘It was used only once prior and that was while the country was just emerging from a civil war in which the president was perceived to be sympathizing with the losing side.’
    • ‘Sometimes I feel cursed because I see and sympathize with so many sides of so many housing debates.’
    • ‘I sympathize with Mr. Barbera's desire to see the place survive and not be replaced by a big Public Storage complex.’
    agree, support, be in sympathy, be sympathetic towards, be in favour of, go along, favour, be well disposed to, approve of, commend, back, side with, align, encourage
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Late 16th century (in the sense ‘suffer with another person’): from French sympathiser, from sympathie ‘sympathy, friendly understanding’ (see sympathy).