feeling, disease

Quick Summary

The Greek root word path can mean either “feeling” or “disease.” This word root is the word origin of a number of English vocabulary words, including sympathy, apathy, pathological, and sociopath. An easy way to remember these different meanings is that a sympathetic person “feels” pain with another, whereas a psychopath does twisted things because he has a “diseased” mind.

A Path Towards Feeling or Disease

The Greek root word path can mean either “feeling” or “disease.” So as not to be apathetic in our “feelings” about path, let’s follow this short but informative “path” through its two meanings.

We will first discuss the root word path when it means “feeling.” If you have sympathy for another person, you “feel” with her. Therefore, a sympathetic person can “feel” with another, but may not necessarily have experienced the same emotions herself. Empathy consists of mutually shared “feelings.” Thus, if you are an empathic or empathetic person, you “feel” and thus identify with another person’s woes because you have experienced similar “feelings” yourself. Apathy, on the other hand, is lack of “feeling” altogether. An apathetic person does not care at all about the “feelings” of another suffering human being. That doesn’t mean that he holds antipathy or a “feeling” against someone, however, as someone who is antipathetic might.

Now let’s check out the cases where the root word path means “disease.” Notice that “disease” and “feeling” are related in terms of not “feeling” so well when you have a “disease.” Physicians know that pathology is the study of “disease.” Bacteria or viruses are pathogens that cause bodily “disease.” Psychiatrists are physicians who study “diseases” of the mind. A pathological liar has the “disease” of lying because she can’t help doing so repeatedly. A psychopath has a “diseased” mind, and so does inappropriate things in society. A sociopath is somewhat similar in that he has a “diseased” way of acting in society, as does a psychopath. Let’s not follow that twisted “path” to its conclusion, or we might get lost!

I think that we now have a confident “feeling” that we have taken the correct path to knowing the root word path, and are no longer “ill at ease” or “dis-eased” when it comes to words containing it!

  1. sympathy: a ‘feeling’ with
  2. sympathetic: of ‘feeling’ with
  3. empathy: a ‘feeling’ like that in another
  4. empathic/empathetic: of a ‘feeling’ like that in another
  5. apathy: no ‘feeling’
  6. apathetic: of no ‘feeling’
  7. antipathy: a ‘feeling’ against someone or something
  8. antipathetic: of a ‘feeling’ against someone or something
  9. pathology: the study of ‘disease’
  10. pathogen: microorganism which brings about ‘disease’
  11. pathological: of a ‘diseased’ condition
  12. psychopath: one who has a ‘diseased’ mind
  13. sociopath: one who has a ‘diseased’ way of interacting in society


  • apathy

    Apathy is a lack of interest or unenthusiastic involvement in an activity; there is no effort to change or improve it at all.

  • empathy

    Empathy is the ability to understand how people feel because you can imagine what it is to be like them.

  • antipathy

    Antipathy is a strong feeling of dislike or hostility towards someone or something.

  • pathological

    If you have a pathological condition, you are extreme or unreasonable in something that you do.

  • pathogen

    A pathogen is an organism or infectious agent—such as a bacterium or virus—that causes disease.

  • antipathetic

    (usually followed by `to') strongly opposed

  • apathetic

    showing little or no emotion or animation

  • empathic

    showing empathy or ready comprehension of others' states

  • pathetic

    deserving or inciting pity

  • pathogenic

    able to cause disease

  • pathology

    the branch of medical science that studies the causes and nature and effects of diseases

  • pathos

    a quality that arouses emotions (especially pity or sorrow)

  • psychopath

    someone with a sociopathic personality

  • psychopathic

    suffering from an undiagnosed mental disorder

  • sociopath

    someone with a sociopathic personality

  • sympathetic

    of or relating to the sympathetic nervous system

  • sympathize

    share the feelings of

  • sympathy

    an inclination to support or be loyal to or to agree with an opinion

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