sympathetic Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo
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Meaning of “sympathetic” in the English Dictionary

"sympathetic" in British English

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sympatheticadjective

uk   /ˌsɪm.pəˈθet.ɪk/  us   /ˌsɪm.pəˈθet̬.ɪk/
  • 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 sympathetic ear 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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  • sympathetic adjective (SUPPORT)

C2 agreeing with or supporting: The party is considered to be sympathetic to/towards welfare reform. Did he give your proposal/complaints a sympathetic hearing?

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sympathetically
adverb uk   /ˌsɪm.pəˈθet.ɪ.kəl.i/  us   /ˌsɪm.pəˈθet̬.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 therefore likable.
  • sympathetic adjective (SUPPORTING)

showing your support 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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