Etymology
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empathetic (adj.)

1909, from empathy on model of sympathetic and said to have been originally meant to be distinct from empathic. A 1918 article in The Journal of Abnormal Psychology (vol. XIII) emphatically recommended empathic:

Sympathetic, the adjective, seems to have built up—so philologists say—on the analogy of pathetic: that is, sympathetic ought to be sympathic as indeed in some languages it becomes. And a little of the pathos of pathetic has usually clung to sympathetic. As for empathy, however, the adjective empathic seems to be more suitable than empathetic, if only because the latter would even more damagingly suggest pathos. [E.E. Southard]

Related: Empathetically.

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Definitions of empathetic

empathetic (adj.)
showing empathy or ready comprehension of others' states;
a sensitive and empathetic school counselor
Synonyms: empathic
From wordnet.princeton.edu