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By Maeve Maddox - 2 minute read

Mary Meehan wonders about the difference between empathic and empathetic :

empathic empathetic

I was reading a book that discussed the importance of empathy. The author routinely used the adjective “empathic” to describe those possessing the quality of empathy. I have always heard and used the adjective “empathetic”, although upon looking it up it seems both words are valid.

Are there any rules or guidelines regarding the proper use of these two words?

Both empathic and empathetic derive from the noun empathy :


The power of projecting one’s personality into (and so fully comprehending) the object of contemplation. –OED

Since both forms of the adjective are recognized by the OED and Merriam-Webster, speakers and writers are free to choose the form they prefer.

The older form is empathic (1909). The form empathetic derives from the more familiar pairing of sympathy and sympathetic . The earliest date for the use of empathetic given in the OED is 1932. It could be that scientific writers prefer the older term.

sympathy sympathetic

The word empathic makes me think of the word empath .


Neither the OED nor M-W has an entry for empath , but I know from a StarTrek episode that an “empath” is a being who can feel another’s pain–literally.

“The Empath” (1968) is excruciating to watch. Gem, the “empath” of the title, is an alien who combines feelings of empathy with the power to heal. When Kirk and McCoy are injured by torture, she is able to heal them with her touch. However, in healing them, she takes their injuries into herself, suffering horribly in the process.

Because of the StarTrek 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.

Although neither the OED nor Merriam-Webster has an entry for empath , oversized circle framed sunglasses Red Gucci VSME4sr
has. The word is illustrated with excerpts from the writings of J. T. McIntosh, H. Ellison, A. McCaffrey, M.Z. Bradley, S. Stewart, and M. Rosenblum.

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I have to agree: when I use empathic (and just as I typed this, the word appeared as a typo) when referring to the traits of an empath. An empath is empathic. A person who displays empathy towards someone is empathetic.

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Hugh Lovatt @h_lovatt 31st October, 2016



Next year will mark the 50 year anniversary of Israel’s de facto annexation and prolonged occupation of Palestinian territory. The approaching milestone will bring with it a renewed focus on both the failings and future direction of international peacemaking efforts. The lack of any viable path towards a two-state solution in recent years has shown that European policy is increasingly out-of-sync with realities on the ground at a time during which developments in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs) and in Israeli politics are moving in the wrong direction.

With the potential for a two-state solution growing increasingly unlikely, the EU’s desire to maintain a “business as usual” approach, predicated on high levels of financial and political investment, and an unwavering commitment to a Middle East Peace Process (MEPP) that has long since broken down, only perpetuates these negative trends.

Even though European leaders accept that the status quo in the OPTs is unsustainable, they fail to offer any course correction. Instead, they continue to repeat the failed choreography that has characterised the last 20 years of peace talks. Among many European policymakers the belief still persists that the Middle East Peace Process, in its current Oslo configuration, offers the path to resolving the conflict. Failing that, they believe the MEPP still represents an effective tool for managing the conflict provided that both sides can be coaxed back into talks. Current dynamics on both sides are increasingly challenging these two beliefs.

While the European Union and its member states frequently reaffirm their commitment to a two-state vision, they shy away from deploying the tools necessary to help make this a reality, or at least maintain it as a viable option. In continuing to promote a broken model, the EU and its member states are punching below their collective weight. Instead of taking the initiative, they continue to act solely as a placeholder in between successive rounds of United States-led diplomacy. Instead of restricting its energies to devising new formats and incentives to push Israelis and Palestinians back into the negotiating room, the EU could be tackling issues head on.

Getting the Palestinian house in order is a priority that the EU needs to push forward with its Palestinian interlocutors given its status as the largest donor of financial assistance. This includes affirming European support for reconciliation, national elections and PLO reform – challenges that will be important to overcome so as to smooth the way towards a future peace agreement. Tackling violence and accusations of incitement on both sides is another important element. But cause and effect should not be confused.

Editor's Note: Entrepreneur Media is an investor and partner with AlleyNYC, a co-working space in New York City.

Editor's Note:

Correction: This piece has been updated to correct the description of two co-working spaces. Informal networking events at Green Spaces in Denver have an environmental focus. Open Source Beehive is a client renting space there. In New York, the speaker at Grind from Union Hospitality Group will be Susan Salgado.


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