Difference Between Pity and Sympathy


Main Difference

The main difference between Pity and Sympathy is that Pity is feeling apologetic for the sadness of another person, whereas Sympathy is considering another person’s feelings as well as considering them.

Pity vs. Sympathy

Pity is feeling sorry for the suffering person without knowing his conditions or circumstances, whereas sympathy is feeling sorry for the suffering person after knowing his situations and conditions. Pity is a negative connotation, while sympathy is a positive connotation.

Pity is an unshared emotional feeling of people you usually don’t know, while sympathy is a shared emotional bonding with the person you are close to. To feel pity, you don’t have to know and understand another person’s background, whereas to sympathize, one must know the circumstances of a close one.


Pity is unshared, while sympathy is shared emotional feelings among all. Pity may also include the sense of arrogance and superiority, having no concern for other’s betterment, but sympathy is all about concerning for other’s improvement, caring, and sharing one’s pain.

Pity can be referred to as an individual’s feeling. Conversely, sympathy can be considered as a community’s feelings. Pity does not convey shared suffering; on the other hand, sympathy expresses shared sorrow.

Seeing the death of someone and feeling sorrow for the late’s family is taken as pity, contrarily witnessing the death of closed one’s family, sharing his pain and concern for his advancement is called sympathy. Pity is seeing poor people and not worried about their conditions; on the flip side, sympathy is seeing poor people and feeling anxious about their well being.


Comparison Chart

Feeling sad for someone’s bad luck and gloom without knowing his conditions, is called pity.Feeling sad ad sorrowful for someone’s misery with a proper understanding of his situation is called sympathy.
No real concern about suffering personConcerned about suffering person
Sharing of Emotions
No sharing of emotions with the victimDeep emotional connection with the victim
Not necessary to understand sufferer’s viewVital to understand sufferer’s view
Negative connotationPositive connotation
Linked With
Any personSomeone close
No experience of feeling the same situation of the subjectConsidering the subject’s pain your pain

What is Pity?

Pity is mainly a feeling of sorry and an apologetic sense for someone’s unhappiness. To feel pity for a person, it’s not compulsory to know his background or circumstances. Pity symbolizes the feelings of grief and sorrow for others.

Pity is considered as negative connotation as it mentions to the feelings of arrogance or scorn. Compassion is feeling the sorrow of others sincerely without knowing their conditions or circumstances of life. To see someone suffering makes the person emotional and experience tender feelings towards that person.

The misfortune of another person haunts the person that he feels apologetic and regretful, as well as the sense of sanctification, points him, and he feels blessed with things that another person is lacking.

Pity can also be defined as being compassionate towards helpless, suffering, or distressed person without knowing the details of his personal life. Considering someone who does not deserve his fate is called pity. Sometimes pity can also be taken as a sense of superiority or arrogance.

The word ‘pity’ is derived from the Latin word “Pietas,” which means to condole or regret a person’s fate. If any person is in pain and you see him knowing that he is in pain but don’t show any honest anxiety, then it is called pity; example, Seeing poor people, observing them, and feeling apologetic for them, but there is no genuine concern about them deep inside your heart.

What is Sympathy?

Sympathy is a sense of care and concern for the people that are close to your heart, and you are anxious about them. To care for a friend or family’s feelings and to wish them to be happier always is considered as sympathy.

It is severely argued that a person who feels sorrow for any other person might have experienced the same circumstances that the other person is getting through now. So, he feels a deep connection with him and feels sad for his misery. This kind of feeling is termed as sympathy.

Sympathy never means pity whatsoever. It describes a shared pain, shared distress. Showing someone that you care for him, his problem is your’s problem; his sadness is your’s sadness, is a feeling of sympathy.

Sympathy needs a similar feeling in the person for whom you are feeling dejected. In compassion, a person not only cares and feel desperate for his loved one’s betterment and happiness but also concerned about their circumstances.

Sharing of emotions and considering another person’s situation, is called sympathy. Sympathy can also refer to the agreement or coordination in between things or people qualitatively. To commiserate and let an individual know that you are with him, and you share his pain, is a feeling of sympathy; for example, Seeing poor people and genuinely concerning them is sympathy. To feel sorry for the loved one who is dejected by the death of his loved one describes the feeling of empathy.

Key Differences

  1. Pity is a feeling of sorrow, resentment, and remorseful toward the suffering person, whereas sympathy is a feeling of understanding the sufferer’s situation and sharing his pain.
  2. Pity does not necessarily need to know the background of the depressed person; on the flip side, it is necessary to see the situation of the remorseful person in sympathy.
  3. Pity does not include sharing emotions and feeling the pain of others, while sympathy is all about sharing the pain of the victim.
  4. Considering the subject’s bad luck and misery without any will to help him is called pity; conversely, feeling the subject’s depression and weariness and genuinely concerning their conditions to help them is called sympathy.
  5. In pity, one does not consider another person’s pain his pain, but in sympathy, one thinks another person’s pain his pain.
  6. Pity is a negative connotation, while sympathy is a positive connotation.
  7. Pity can also be taken as arrogance and dominance sense considering one’s ownself superior to a suffering person. Conversely, sympathy is all about thinking of the ways to help the victim and divide his agony.


Pity is feeling sorrowful for someone’s misfortune without genuine anxiety to help him out; conversely, Sympathy is feeling dejected and dividing the aching of the victim with the real concern of helping him.

Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson