For example, your female colleague experienced discrimination at work. You 'feel for her', and you're mad at the injustice in the system too.

It's more than that you feel sorry for her-- on top of that, I'm looking for a word that conveys the anger and frustration you empathetically share with her.

  • 3
    Vicarious indignation. Secondhand umbrage.
    – Dan Bron
    May 10, 2015 at 19:18

1 Answer 1


I would likely describe your sympathetic response as, "righteous indignation."

RIGHTEOUS adjective:

1. (of a person or conduct) morally right or justifiable; virtuous. "he is a good, righteous man, I am sure"

synonyms: good, virtuous, upright, upstanding, decent; see Google righteous

INDIGNATION noun: anger or annoyance provoked by what is perceived as unfair treatment. "the letter filled Lucy with indignation"

synonyms: resentment, umbrage, affront, disgruntlement, displeasure, anger, outrage, annoyance, irritation, exasperation, vexation, offense, pique. see Google indignation

  • Upvote. But is there any way to specify the indignation is due to the unfair treatment meted out to someone else rather than you?
    – Tushar Raj
    May 10, 2015 at 19:35
  • I believe that will require more words. :-)
    – user98990
    May 10, 2015 at 19:37
  • 1
    Yeah I think I have to go with sympathetic indignation (two words :) ). But I still can't think of an adjective that will do the job, as in "I feel (possibly an adverb here) __ for" the wronged person.
    – ladiesman
    May 10, 2015 at 19:47
  • "sympathetic and righteous indignation." How's that, ladiesman?
    – user98990
    May 10, 2015 at 20:00
  • 1
    "indignation" is what I first thought of. +1
    – Centaurus
    May 10, 2015 at 20:45

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