\ \ [17] Condolence and sympathy are parallel formations: both go back to classical originals (late Latin condolēre and Greek sumpátheia respectively) which meant literally ‘together-suffering’. Latin condolēre was a compound verb formed from the prefix com- ‘together’ and dolēresuffer pain’ (source of English dolour and doleful). This entered English in the 16th century as the now seldom encountered verb condole, but the comparative frequency of the noun condolence is probably due to the early 17th-century adoption of French condoléance (the spelling condoleance was common in English in the 17th and 18th centuries).

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

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