But there is a major difference between empathy and sympathy. One of the most difficult tasks put upon man is reflective commitment to another's problem while maintaining his own identity. The difference between the two words is significant. Though the words appear in similar contexts, they have different meanings, Set your young readers up for lifelong success, Study Up With Our Official SCRABBLE Dictionary. Sympathy, constructed from the Greek "sym," meaning together, and "pathos," referring to feelings or emotion, is used to describe when one person shares the same feelings of another, such as when someone close is experiencing grief or loss. Empathy, sympathy, and compassion are three words that many use interchangeably. Empathy is often confused with pity, sympathy, and compassion, which are each reactions to the plight of others. —Michael Trimble, The New York Times, 11 Nov. 2012. Sympathy means you can understand what the person is feeling. —Edwin G. Boring, The Psychological Review, Vol. Empathy is a term we use for the ability to understand other people’s feelings as if we were having them ourselves. Compassion is the willingness to relieve the suffering of another. When a friend grieves over the loss of a loved one, you might send that friend a sympathy card. Sympathy and empathy are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. It goes beyond sympathy, which is caring and understanding for the suffering of others.Both words are used similarly and often interchangeably (incorrectly so) but differ subtly in their emotional meaning. Psychologists began using empathy as a translation for the German term Einfühlung and the concept that a person could project their own feelings onto a viewed object. But I also have some sympathy for Pluto because I heard it’s been downgraded from a planet, and I think it should remain a planet. Empathy and sympathy aren’t synonyms. Empathy means that you feel what another is feeling—it requires that you have previously been placed in similar circumstances. When we hear of sympathy, we tend to think of situations involving emotional pain: The distress of her sister, too, particularly a favourite, was before her; and as for their mother, when Mrs. Jennings considered that Marianne might probably be to her what Charlotte was to herself, her sympathy in her sufferings was very sincere. The card says that you are feeling sad along with your friend because your friend is grieving. Sympathy means that you can intellectually understand what another is feeling. Empathy is a term we use for the ability to understand other people’s feelings as if we were having them ourselves. The difference between the most commonly used meanings of these two terms is: This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. Another word for sympathy: compassion, understanding, pity, empathy, tenderness | Collins English Thesaurus Sympathy definition, harmony of or agreement in feeling, as between persons or on the part of one person with respect to another. Both sympathy and empathy have roots in the Greek term páthos meaning “suffering, feeling.”. The differences aren’t just in spelling but also in how they’re used in emotional circumstances. ), 1993, Criticism, like fiction, was an act of empathy for Ray, putting yourself in the other guy's shoes. Empathy can also mean projecting our own feeling onto a work of art or another object. —John H. Dirckx, The Language of Medicine (2nd Ed. Both sympathy and empathy have roots in the Greek term páthos meaning “suffering, feeling.” What is sympathy? The difference between the two words is significant. 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