Entries linking to parasympathetic
before vowels, par-, word-forming element, originally in Greek-derived words, meaning "alongside, beyond; altered; contrary; irregular, abnormal," from Greek para- from para (prep.) "beside, near; issuing from; against, contrary to," from PIE *prea, from root *per- (1) "forward," hence "toward, near; against." Cognate with Old English for- "off, away." Mostly used in scientific and technical words; not usually regarded as a naturalized formative element in English.
In the anatomical sense, "subject to a common nervous influence," the word is attested from 1769, from Modern Latin (nervus) sympathicus, coined by Jacques-Benigne Winslow (1669-1760), Danish anatomist living in Paris. Related: Sympathetical (1630s); Sympathetically (1620s).