sympathetic Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo

Meaning of “sympathetic” in the English Dictionary

"sympathetic" in British English

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sympatheticadjective

uk   /ˌsɪm.pəˈθet.ɪk/  us   /-ˈθet̬-/
  • sympathetic adjective (UNDERSTANDING)

B2 used to ​describe someone who ​shows, ​especially by what they say, that they ​understand and ​care about someone else's ​suffering: He ​suffers from back ​trouble too, so he was very sympathetic about my ​problem. She just ​needed someone who would lend a sympatheticear to her (= ​listen to her in a ​kind and ​understanding way)once in a while.
Opposite
If a ​character in a ​book or ​film is sympathetic, they are ​described or ​shown in such a way that you are ​able to ​understand the character's ​feelings, with the ​result that you like them: She comes ​across as a more sympathetic ​character in the ​movie.

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  • You'd ​think his ​children would be more sympathetic towards him after all he's gone through .
  • She ​tried to use a sympathetic ​tone of ​voice.
  • Never having been ​ill himself, he wasn't a sympathetic ​listener.
  • I ​tried to ​tell her about the ​awfulday I'd had, but she wasn't very sympathetic.
  • Claire's always one to ​lend a sympathetic ​ear if you have ​problems.
  • sympathetic adjective (SUPPORT)

C2 agreeing with or ​supporting: The ​party is ​considered to be sympathetic to/towardswelfarereform. Did he give ​yourproposal/​complaints a sympathetic hearing?

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sympathetically
adverb uk   us   /-ɪ.kəl.i/
She ​listened sympathetically, ​nodding her ​head now and again.
(Definition of sympathetic from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"sympathetic" in American English

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sympatheticadjective

 us   /ˌsɪm·pəˈθet̬·ɪk/
  • sympathetic adjective (UNDERSTANDING)

showing, esp. by what you say, that you ​understand and ​care about someone’s ​problems or ​suffering: He ​suffers from back ​trouble too, so he was sympathetic. A sympathetic ​character in a ​book or ​movie is one whose ​actions are ​understandable and who is ​thereforelikable.
  • sympathetic adjective (SUPPORTING)

showingyoursupport and ​agreement: We are sympathetic to that ​point of ​view and have the same ​goals.
(Definition of sympathetic from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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