Definition of sympathize in US English:


(British sympathise)


[no object]
  • 1Feel or express sympathy.

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

    ‘they sympathize with critiques of traditional theory’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Sometimes I feel cursed because I see and sympathize with so many sides of so many housing debates.’
    • ‘I sympathize with the university's position, assuming that their reason for saying no is candid.’
    • ‘For the record, I think those laws are stupid, although I sympathize with their intent.’
    • ‘Boshra feels that most senior editors sympathize with the reporters' sentiments, but have more to lose if they speak out.’
    • ‘Lilith had sympathized with her opinion of them being dimwitted creatures that were destroying the earth.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Even if you don't agree with him, it's not difficult to sympathise with the sentiment behind his off-the-cuff remark.’
    • ‘In both cases, I strongly sympathize with the authors' respective messages.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A lot of the Czech supporters or people who sympathize with the cause were outstanding.’
    • ‘He rejects the attitude that if you try to explain the origins of terrorism you support it or sympathize with it.’
    • ‘I sympathize with Mr. Barbera's desire to see the place survive and not be replaced by a big Public Storage complex.’
    • ‘I sympathize with this stance, but I just don't think we're likely to attain this goal via war.’
    • ‘I can totally understand and sympathize with both sides of this argument.’
    • ‘I can sympathize with his absolutist view regarding capital punishment, as did many in the Cuban leadership.’
    • ‘I therefore generally sympathize with schools' judgment calls in this area, even if they may seem excessive.’
    • ‘You can sympathize with all of the film's intentions while wishing for more objective, nuanced arguments.’
    • ‘As a libertarian, I tend to sympathize with this logic without digging too deeply into the facts.’
    • ‘I can sympathise with this opinion, but I do not agree with it, as I enjoy this hobby too much.’
    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).