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Empathetic and empathic

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empathic versus empatheticBy 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.

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