The words ‘empathetic’ and ‘empathic’ sound very similar but not quite the same. You might be wondering what the difference is and how to use each word correctly. We’ll cover that in this article and provide plenty of examples that show you how to use them in a sentence.
In short, the difference between these words is:
They both come from the noun ‘empathy.’
‘Empathetic’ is the ability to understand and share the feelings of someone else.
‘Sympathetic’ is when you understand the feelings of someone else but don’t feel them as if you were them.
‘Empathic’ is simply a variant of ‘empathetic’ that first emerged in 1909. They sound similar but not the same, which means they don't qualify as homophones.
Since we know that one is a variant of the other, they can both be considered correct. People often use the terms interchangeably because the meaning hasn’t really changed since the introduction of ‘empathetic’ in 1932.
To get a better understanding of the words, let’s define them. A quick peek at the Merriam-Webster dictionary shows that the words mean involving, characterized by, or based on empathy.
And we know that empathy means the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experiences of someone else, either in the past or present, without having those thoughts, feelings, and experiences fully communicated.
Wondering how to pronounce these words correctly? Here’s a short guide.
Now that we know what the words mean and how to pronounce them let’s take a look at how to use them in a sentence.
To recap, we learned that the difference between these words is:
They both originate from the noun ‘empathy.’
If you ever get stuck on usage or meaning, don’t be afraid to come back here and refresh your memory. We’ve got a ton of other content on other confusing words and phrases you might come across in the English language. Feel free to check it out anytime.