Definition of empathy in English:



  • The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

    • ‘She had no hidden agenda, no axe to grind, just great empathy and overwhelming sympathy.’
    • ‘People here have a warm way of showing empathy but at the same time respecting your private grief.’
    • ‘Among the violence, there are also moments of empathy and humanity, which shine out like a beacon.’
    • ‘There is a frightening lack of empathy and of understanding of the condition of the elderly.’
    • ‘It is easy to understand the natural empathy between a Prime Minister and a top football manager.’
    • ‘I feel a degree of empathy for the man held hostage, and for his family.’
    • ‘Because we have that empathy, we are good at sympathetically guiding and advising.’
    • ‘I was a few paces on before I even considered my selfishness and lack of empathy.’
    • ‘He has no empathy with, or sympathy for, this officer who has children to think about.’
    • ‘Her experiences gave her a sense of empathy and responsibility, she says.’
    • ‘A little bit of empathy and understanding might go a long way in making their life easier.’
    • ‘Often politicians are accused of having no powers of empathy whatsoever.’
    • ‘Such a metaphor betrays a complete lack of understanding, of empathy with Victorian culture.’
    • ‘That almost supernatural talent for empathy was his greatest political gift.’
    • ‘It was an act, first and foremost, of solidarity with the victims and of empathy with their families.’
    • ‘All art criticism is necessarily subjective, but such complete empathy with an artist is rare.’
    • ‘Nothing was done for effect, he was incredibly generous, talented and showed great empathy.’
    • ‘The use of touch with reflexology breaks down barriers and establishes empathy.’
    • ‘The money will be used to fund an initiative designed to help offenders develop empathy with their victims.’
    • ‘Finally, proximity makes for empathy and justifies the inevitable risks for intervention.’
    compassion, sympathy, pity, empathy, feeling, concern, considerateness, consideration, tenderness, tender-heartedness, kindness, kind-heartedness, sensitivity, insight, fellow feeling, brotherly love, neighbourliness, decency, humanity, humanitarianism, humaneness, charity, goodwill, mercy, mercifulness, gentleness, tolerance, lenience, leniency, warmth, warm-heartedness, affection, love
    View synonyms


Early 20th century: from Greek empatheia (from em- in + pathos feeling) translating German Einfühlung.