1. Of, expressing, feeling, or resulting from sympathy: a sympathetic glance.
2. Favorably inclined: not at all sympathetic to her proposal.
3. Agreeably suited to one's disposition or mood; congenial: sympathetic surroundings.
4. Easy to identify with and care about; likeable: a gloomy novel without a single sympathetic character.
5. Of, relating to, or acting on the sympathetic nervous system: a sympathetic neuron; sympathetic stimulation.
a. Relating to or being vibrations, especially musical tones, produced in one body by energy from a nearby vibrating body and having the same frequency as the vibration of the nearby body.
b. Emitting such vibrations: sympathetic strings.
[Greek sumpathētikos, from sumpatheia, sympathy; see SYMPATHY.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.