Definition of sympathetic adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˌsɪmpəˈθetɪk//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˌsɪmpəˈθetɪk//
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  1. 1  sympathetic (to/towards somebody) kind to somebody who is hurt or sad; showing that you understand and care about their problems a sympathetic listener I did not feel at all sympathetic towards Kate. I'm here if you need a sympathetic ear (= somebody to talk to about your problems). a sympathetic response She was very sympathetic when I was sick.
  2. 2  sympathetic (to/towards somebody/something) showing that you approve of somebody/something or that you share their views and are willing to support them to be sympathetic to the party’s aims Russian newspapers are largely sympathetic to the president.
  3. 3(of a person) easy to like a sympathetic character in a novel I don't find her a very sympathetic person. This meaning is not very common and you should use likeable or pleasant instead. opposite unsympathetic See related entries: Kind
  4. Word Originmid 17th cent. (in the sense ‘relating to an affinity or paranormal influence’): from sympathy, on the pattern of pathetic.Extra examples He was speaking to a highly sympathetic audience. He’d written a not entirely sympathetic article in the ‘Globe’. Her aggressive attitude makes me less sympathetic to her plight. Her attitude to my situation was less than sympathetic. I did not feel sympathetic towards them. I found the doctors quite sympathetic. My boss is being very sympathetic about my problems. She made suitably sympathetic noises down the phone. The character’s faults actually make him more sympathetic. The government is broadly sympathetic to our ideas. They were extremely sympathetic to my plight. a patient and deeply sympathetic man He was a sympathetic and supportive husband. I’m here if you need a sympathetic ear. The helpline provides a sympathetic listener on the end of the phone. a sympathetic friend/​listener/​employer
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: sympathetic