"empath" as lexicographic lacuna

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Mon Nov 24 23:04:12 UTC 2008

On Mon, Nov 24, 2008 at 5:59 PM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at gmail.com> wrote:
> What about "empathic" v. "empathetic"? The first I know from reading
> SF in the 'Fifies. The second I hear on TV, in movies, and in novels.
> However, from time to time, I occasionally hear "empathic" on TV. I'd
> been beginning to fear that "empathic" was merely something made up by
> some SF writer and not a "real" word.

OED's got the non-SF sense of "empathic" from 1909 (vs. 1932 for "empathetic"),
and the SF Citations database has it from 1959:


--Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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