Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

  

English definition of “sympathetic”

sympathetic

adjective (UNDERSTANDING)    /ˌsɪm.pəˈθet.ɪk/ US  /-ˈθet̬-/
B2 describes 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 unsympatheticSympathy and compassion 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 film.Empathy and sensitivitySympathy and compassionCharacters in literature and film unsympatheticGrammar:Nice or sympathetic?Nice is an adjective meaning ‘pleasant’, ‘enjoyable’ or ‘satisfactory’:See more sympathetically     /-ɪ.kəl.i/ adverb She listened sympathetically, nodding her head now and again.Sympathy and compassion
(Definition of sympathetic adjective (UNDERSTANDING) from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
Focus on the pronunciation of sympathetic

Browse related topics

You are looking at an entry to do with Sympathy & compassion, but you might be interested in these topics from the Kind and unkind topic area:

More definitions for “sympathetic”

Definitions of “sympathetic” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

pump iron

to lift heavy weights for exercise

Word of the Day

Blog

Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More