†1. Suffering together with another, participation in suffering; fellow-feeling, sympathy. Obsolete.
a. The feeling or emotion, when a person is moved by the suffering or distress of another, and by the desire to relieve it; pity that inclines one to spare or to succour. Const. on (of obsolete).The compassion of sense 1 was between equals or fellow-sufferers; this is shown towards a person in distress by one who is free from it, who is, in this respect, his superior.
†b. with plural. Obsolete or archaic.
c. to have compassion : to have pity, take pity. So †to take compassion (upon, of) .
†3. Sorrowful emotion, sorrow, grief. Obsolete.
Draft additions April 2002
compassion fatigue n. orig. U.S. apathy or indifference towards the suffering of others or to charitable causes acting on their behalf, typically attributed to numbingly frequent appeals for assistance, esp. donations; (hence) a diminishing public response to frequent charitable appeals.
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