By Mary Morel
Reader’s question: So many people say empathetic but I like empathic. What’s your view?
Answer: I think they can be used interchangeably, but Daily Writing Tips has an interesting take on these words.
In summary, it says:
‘Because of the Star Trek influence, I do see a difference between empathic and empathetic. I would use empathetic to describe the empathy an ordinary person feels. I’d use empathic to describe the feeling experienced by an empath.’
Guess you have to be a Star Trek fan to appreciate this distinction!
A dictionary I consulted said that empathetic is made up of [empa(thy) + (sympa)thetic]. Empathy comes from the Greek empatheia.
Learn more about commonly confused words and word usage with one of my online courses: