Sympathize vs Compassion - What's the difference?

sympathize | compassion |


As verbs the difference between sympathize and compassion

is that sympathize is to show sympathy; to be affected by feelings similar to those of another, in consequence of knowing the person to be thus affected while compassion is (obsolete) to pity.

As a noun compassion is

deep awareness of the suffering of another, coupled with the wish to relieve it.

sympathize

English

Verb

(North America)
  • To show sympathy; to be affected by feelings similar to those of another, in consequence of knowing the person to be thus affected.
  • * Addison
  • Their countrymen sympathized with their heroes in all their adventures.
  • To have a common feeling, as of bodily pleasure or pain.
  • * Buckminster
  • The mind will sympathize so much with the anguish and debility of the body, that it will be too distracted to fix itself in meditation.
  • To agree; to be in accord; to harmonize.
  • (Dryden)

    Usage notes

    Used similarly to empathize, interchangeably in looser usage. In stricter usage, (term) is stronger and more intimate, while sympathize is weaker and more distant; see . Further, the general “agree, accord” sense of sympathize is not shared with (term).

    compassion

    English

    Noun

  • Deep awareness of the suffering of another, coupled with the wish to relieve it
  • * 1849 , Robert Leighton (Archbishop of Glasgow), A practical commentary upon the first Epistle of St. Peter (page 47)
  • Oh! the unspeakable privilege to have Him for our Father, who is the Father of mercies and compassions , and those not barren, fruitless pityings, for He is withal the God of all consolations.

    Synonyms

    * empathy, pity, ruth, tenderheartedness, sorrow * kindness, heart, mercy

    Derived terms

    * compassionate * compassion fatigue

    Verb

    (en verb)
  • (obsolete) To pity.
  • * 1607 , , IV. i. 124:
  • O heavens, can you hear a good man groan / And not relent, or not compassion him?