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American Dictionary of the English Language

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Sympathy


SYM'PATHY, noun [Gr. with, and passion.]

1. Fellow feeling; the quality of being affected by the affection of another, with feelings by the affection of another, with feelings correspondent in kind, if not in degree. We feel sympathy for another when we see him in distress, or when we are informed of his distresses. This sympathy is a correspondent feeling of pain or regret.

Sympathy is produced through the medium of organic impression.

I value myself upon sympathy; I hate and despise myself for envy.

2. An agreement of affections or inclinations, or a conformity of natural temperament, which makes two persons pleased with each other.

To such associations may be attributed most of the sympathies and antipathies of our nature.

3. In medicine, a correspondence of various parts of the body in similar sensations or affections; or an affection of the whole body or some part of it, in consequence of an injury or disease of another part, or of a local affection. Thus a contusion on the head will produce nausea and vomiting. This is said to be by sympathy or consent of parts.

4. In natural history, a propension of inanimate things to unite, or to act on each other. Thus we say, there is a sympathy between the lodestone and iron.