Deepest Sympathy: Definition, Meaning and Origin

Last Updated on
June 10, 2023

The idiom "deepest sympathy" is typically expressed as an emotional response of sadness or compassion for someone else's misfortune or loss. It conveys sincere and profound empathy for another person, usually in times of grief or hardship.

In short:

"Deepest sympathy" represents a profound expression of empathy and condolences, especially in times of loss or sorrow.

What Does "Deepest Sympathy" Mean?

The phrase expresses profound sorrow or condolences for someone else's misfortune, anguish, or bereavement. For example, you might offer your deepest sympathy to a friend who has lost a loved one, is coping with a serious illness, or is going through a painful breakup.

Let's explore its core meanings:

  • It primarily conveys a deep level of empathy and compassion towards someone experiencing a significant loss or hardship.
  • People usually say it when expressing condolences after a person's death.
  • While it is generally formal, it carries a sincere and profound emotional undertone.

Where Does "Deepest Sympathy" Come From?

The phrase is thought to have originated in the 16th century, and it is believed to have come from the Latin word "sympathia," which means "to feel with." It is often used in written communication, such as in letters, cards, or emails. But is also useful in spoken communication, such as when someone is offering condolences to someone who has lost a loved one.

Historical Example

"'Our boys,' - he said, with awkward phrasing, but with an instinct which reached to the ground of their deepest sympathy. 'It might comfort them a little to play together.'"

- The Philistines, 1793

10 Examples of "Deepest Sympathy" in Sentences

Here are some examples of using the idiom in sentences:

  • Expressing my deepest sympathy, I hear you and understand your pain.
  • Our deepest sympathy goes out to the family during this difficult time.
  • Even though we're out of range, I'm sending my deepest sympathy your way.
  • As we start from scratch after this loss, my deepest sympathy goes out to you.
  • Please accept my deepest sympathy for the passing of your father.
  • I hope all is well with you, and please accept my deepest sympathy during this difficult time.
  • I extend my deepest sympathy for the loss of your beloved pet.
  • We, as a community, extend our deepest sympathy to the family.
  • The entire team expresses its deepest sympathy to our colleague on the loss of her sister.
  • This too shall pass, and until then, you have my deepest sympathy.

Examples of "Deepest Sympathy" in Literature and Pop Culture

The phrase "deepest sympathy" commonly appears in literature, film, and other forms of media to express condolences or shared sorrow in response to a significant loss or hardship.

Let's examine some examples:

  • "The Security Council expresses its deepest sympathy and condolences to the victims and their families" is a quote from the 2012 book Terrorism by Ben Saul.
  • "I wish on behalf of the citizens of Sheffield to express to the sorrowing people who have lost their loved ones our very deepest sympathy" is a quote from the 2016 book The Story of Sheffield at War: 1939 to 1945 by Margaret Drinkall
  • "Deepest sympathy on your unfortunate blunder, Miles." is a line from the TV series Murphy Brown (1988-2018).
  • "Ambassador, I would had come to Vulcan to express my deepest sympathies." is a line from the action movie Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984).

Other/Different Ways to Say "Deepest Sympathy"

There are various alternative expressions that carry a similar sentiment to "deepest sympathy."

Here are some of them:

  • Heartfelt condolences
  • Sincere empathy
  • Profound sorrow
  • Our thoughts are with you
  • We share in your grief

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "Deepest Sympathy":

  • What does "deepest sympathy" mean?

"Deepest sympathy" generally refers to a profound level of empathy and compassion towards someone undergoing a significant loss or hardship.

  • How can I use "deepest sympathy" in a sentence?

You can use "deepest sympathy" to express heartfelt condolences towards someone. For example, "We extend our deepest sympathy to you during this time of loss."

  • Where does the idiom "deepest sympathy" come from?

The term has been used in English for many centuries, as a traditional way to express condolences.

  • Is "deepest sympathy" a formal term?

Yes, "deepest sympathy" is typically used in a formal context, often in written condolences.

  • Does "deepest sympathy" only refer to expressing condolences for a death?

No, while it is most commonly used in the context of a death, it can also be used to express profound empathy for any significant loss or hardship.

  • Is "deepest sympathy" always sincere?

"Deepest sympathy" is intended to convey sincere empathy, but the sincerity can depend on the person expressing it.

  • Can "deepest sympathy" be used in professional settings?

Yes, it is often used in professional settings to express condolences, particularly in written communication.

  • Is it appropriate to use "deepest sympathy" in all cultures?

While the sentiment of deep sympathy is universally understood, the exact phrase and its usage can vary across cultures. Always be mindful of cultural sensitivities when expressing condolences.

  • Can "deepest sympathy" be used to comfort someone facing a personal challenge, like a breakup or job loss?

Yes, it can be used in those situations, although it is most often associated with significant losses, such as death.

  • Does the phrase "deepest sympathy" have any negative connotations?

No, "deepest sympathy" doesn't carry negative connotations. It's typically perceived as a respectful way to express condolences.

Final Thoughts About "Deepest Sympathy"

The idiom "deepest sympathy" is a formal expression used to convey profound empathy and compassion towards someone undergoing significant loss or hardship.

Here's a quick recap:

  • The phrase is commonly used to express condolences, particularly in written communication.
  • While associated primarily with death, it can be used to empathize with any substantial loss or hardship.
  • The phrase has been used in the English language for centuries as a traditional way of expressing condolences.

While "deepest sympathy" is a universal expression of empathy, it's essential to approach its use with respect and sincerity. It serves as a reminder of the compassion that we can offer each other during times of loss and hardship, ultimately reflecting our shared human experience.

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