The person who is sympathizing is called the sympathizer; but is there any term for the person receiving sympathy?

Off the top of my head, I really want to say the word "sympathee", but it looks like it isn't a real word.

  • Can you use bereaved? Commented Mar 13, 2017 at 16:13

2 Answers 2


Stets and Turner in their Handbook of the Sociology of the Emotions published in 2007 use the word sympathizee.

A 1999 article in The Economist uses the more British-looking form sympathisee.

Sympathizee seems to go with sympathizer in the way employee goes with employer.

Spellchecker does not seem happy with either the sympathizee or sympathisee version of them (for what it's worth), and I can't see that any dictionaries have picked up this usage. The Economist is fairly well respected though.


Though not exactly as a term for a person receiving sympathy, the word piteous can mean deserving sympathy.

piteous adjective (M-B):

deserving or causing feelings of sympathy or pity.

The child cried out in a piteous voice.

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