The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Sympathy \Sym"pa*thy\, n.; pl. Sympathies. [F. sympathie, L.
sympathia, Gr. ?; sy`n with + ? suffering, passion, fr. ?, ?,
to suffer. See Syn-, and Pathos.]
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;
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;
I value myself upon sympathy, I hate and despise
myself for envy. --Kames.
4. (Physiol. & Med.)
(a) The reciprocal influence exercised by organs or parts
on one another, as shown in the effects of a diseased
condition of one part on another part or organ, as in
the vomiting produced by a tumor of the brain.
(b) The influence of a certain psychological state in one
person in producing a like state in another.
Note: In the original 1890 work, sense (b) was described as:
"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."
[Webster 1913 Suppl. +PJC]
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.
Syn: Pity; fellow-feeling; compassion; commiseration;
tenderness; condolence; agreement.
Usage: Sympathy, Commiseration. Sympathy is literally a
fellow-feeling with others in their varied conditions
of joy or of grief. This term, however, is now more
commonly applied to a fellow-feeling with others under
affliction, and then coincides very nearly with
commiseration. In this case it is commonly followed by
for; as, to feel sympathy for a friend when we see him
distressed. The verb sympathize is followed by with;
as, to sympathize with a friend in his distresses or
enjoyments. "Every man would be a distinct species to
himself, were there no sympathy among individuals."
--South. See Pity.
Acknowledged and deplored, in Adam wrought