I've come across the word simpatico and it aroused my curiosity, so I looked it up in the Oxford dictionary:

  • Having or characterized by shared attributes or interests; compatible

The usage examples include the word relationship after simpatico, which slightly perplexes me. Is this always the case?

Plus, based on the definition, I would assume simpatico is synonymous with the word same. Am I right?

Consider the following examples. Is simpatico used correctly here?

  1. The two companies have simpatico ideas for some products that can trump a myriad number of others and cause them to be out of business.

  2. We had a simpatico relationship and we were the epitome of a perfect couple as we were like-minded.

  • 3
    Simpatico usually has a meaning more like similar or compatible, using the definition you gave. Same implies identical, where simpatico is usually describing compatibility.
    – Hank
    Commented Jan 25, 2017 at 17:00
  • Firstly, thanks for editing my post. Secondly, is it right to describe two phones that have almost the same features as simpatico?
    – Hoy Hoy
    Commented Jan 25, 2017 at 17:04
  • 1
    I would say no. I say that because simpatico describes more of a harmonic relationship, like Mitch describes. You could say a marriage is simpatico, but you wouldn't necessarily use it to describe two items or people that are almost identical.
    – Hank
    Commented Jan 25, 2017 at 17:06
  • 1
    "Sympatico" is closer to the meaning of "sympathizing" than it is to "same".
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Jan 25, 2017 at 17:52
  • @Hank; Harmonic is not the same as 'harmonious' which would fit here. Commented Jan 25, 2017 at 18:09

1 Answer 1


No 'simpatico' is not a synonym of 'same'. If you replace 'same' with 'sympatico' or the other way around, you will give a very different impression.

Their definitions seem to have something in common, but with 'simpatico' the emphasis is with a mutually endearing relationship, like between friends or colleagues that like each other. Similarity might be present, or just as well not.

'Same' means all (or most) of their properties are shared.

'Simpatico' means they work well together, which would more likely imply they fill in gaps the others don't, rather than being similar.

Also, 'same' is a very common and very basic word with very simple semantics. 'Simpatico' is much rarer, is a bit slangy/informal (sounds like two gangsters might share a sub sandwich in New Jersey: "Let me pay for the check", "Fuggeddaboutit. We're sympatico").

  • 2
    Oh! thanks for the succinct explanation! I never hear anyone use the word to be honest. Is it formal? And could you tell me if the following example right or not: My father and Jake have a simpatico way of thinking.
    – Hoy Hoy
    Commented Jan 25, 2017 at 17:07
  • @HoyHoy It depends on what you mean by that sentence. Does their thinking help them work harmoniously together? Or is their thinking the same? Or both?
    – Hank
    Commented Jan 25, 2017 at 17:09
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    Simpático just means that which inspires sympathy, so for people it means charming, agreeable, and nice easy-going folks.
    – tchrist
    Commented Jan 25, 2017 at 17:56
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    "My father and Jake have a simpatico way of thinking." if it is intended to mean simply 'similar' then no that's not right. (simpatico probably implies similar, but not necessarily). 'simpatico' actually implies that they are not identical but that the get along well together and maybe complement each other (filling gaps that the other has).
    – Mitch
    Commented Jan 25, 2017 at 17:56
  • 2
    'simpatico' is pretty informal
    – Mitch
    Commented Jan 25, 2017 at 18:04

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