Use empathy if you're looking for a noun meaning "the ability to identify with another's feelings."
Origin: When Bill Clinton famously told people "I feel your pain" during his 1992 election campaign, some praised and others ridiculed him for displaying empathy, the sharing or understanding of feelings. Empathy is different from sympathy, which is pity or sorrow for others' misfortunes. They share a common root in -pathy, from the Greekpathos, "feeling." Where they differ is in their prefixes: sym- means "with," while em-means "in." If you can empathize with someone, it's because you have been in their place: you've "walked a mile in their shoes," as the saying goes.
Caught between words:
Empathy is heartbreaking — you experience other people's pain and joy. Sympathy is easier because you just have to feel sorry for someone. Send a sympathy card if someone's cat died; feel empathy if your cat died, too.
- She had great empathy with people.
- President Obama has often spoken after a racially charged shooting, urging cooperation and empathy.
- Interviewers are trained to set a friendly conversational tone, and to show a degree of empathy.
- After his own breakup, Michael felf empathy for his friend who was recently divorced.
*New word description, story and part of "EXAMPLE SENTENCE" are cited in Vocabulary
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