1. Feeling corresponding to that which another feels; the quality of being affected by the affection of another, with feelings correspondent in kind, if not in degree; fellow-feeling. They saw, but other sight instead a crowd Of ugly serpents! Horror on them fell, And horrid sympathy. (milton)
2. An agreement of affections or inclinations, or a conformity of natural temperament, which causes persons to be pleased, or in accord, with one another; as, there is perfect sympathy between them.
3. Kindness of feeling toward one who suffers; pity; commiseration; compassion. I value myself upon sympathy, I hate and despise myself for envy. (kames)
4. (Science: physiology) The reciprocal influence exercised by the various organs or parts of the body on one another, as manifested in the transmission of a disease by unknown means from one organ to another quite remote, or in the influence exerted by a diseased condition of one part on another part or organ, as in the vomiting produced by a tumour of the brain. That relation which exists between different persons by which one of them produces in the others a state or condition like that of himself. This is shown in the tendency to yawn which a person often feels on seeing another yawn, or the strong inclination to become hysteric experienced by many women on seeing another person suffering with hysteria.
5. A tendency of inanimate
things to unite, or to act on each other; as, the sympathy between the loadstone and iron.
6. Similarity of function, use office, or the like. The adverb has most sympathy with the verb. (Earle)
Synonym: Pity, fellow-feeling, compassion, commiseration, tenderness, condolence, agreement.
Origin: F. Sympathie, L. Sympathia, Gr.; with – suffering, passion, fr, to suffer. See Syn-, and Pathos.