Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Condole And Console


What is the difference between ‘condole’ and ‘console’? Both words may be used when someone is grieving or has suffered some sort of loss. However, in certain situations one word is definitely preferable to the other in usage and in meaning.

‘Condole’ is an intransitive verb that means to express a sympathetic sorrow with a person who is suffering or to grieve with them after a loss, especially in death. Most usage usually is followed by ‘with’. For example: We condoled with the widow after the loss of her husband. It is from ‘condole’ that ‘condolence’ comes from. ‘Condolence’ is a noun that is an expression of sympathy or sorrow for someone. Both ‘condole’ and ‘condolence’ are usually considered old-fashioned words and are therefore used in more formal settings, such as formal expressions of sympathy or sorrow, such as in a written card or letter expressing sympathy. An obsolete definition of ‘condole’ is to grieve, or feel deep sorrow after a loss, however the modern usage takes on the meaning of expressing a feeling of sympathy to comfort someone who is grieving.

‘Console’ as a verb has a related meaning to expressing sympathy. However, ‘console’ means to try to make someone feel less sad or disappointed over a loss because you feel sympathy or sorrow for them. It is generally not followed by ‘with’. For example: We consoled the little girl when she began to cry. It takes on the meaning and usage more of cheering, comforting or soothing, rather than just expressing sympathy. Because it has a warmer and more emotional connotation, it is considered a less formal and more commonly used word than ‘condole’. ‘Console’ does not have a noun form.

‘Console’ is not only more commonly used in everyday English conversation, but it also has a wider meaning. ‘Condole’ is generally used in serious situations of grief, such as death of a loved one, and ‘console’ may be used in the same type of situation involving death. For example: We offered our condolences and consoled the family after the grandmother died. However, ‘console’ is used in less serious situations. It can be used in any situation where a person may be upset, disappointed or feel a loss. For example: I consoled my best friend when she lost her job.

‘Console’ has another pronunciation, kon-sohl, and different part of speech, as a noun. In this usage it means something entirely different. It means a flat surface that contains the controls for a machine or another piece of electrical equipment, a cabinet for a stereo or a television that stands on the floor, or an architectural feature that projects from a wall to form a bracket. This type of ‘console’ is unrelated and should not be confused with the verb form of ‘console’, which is pronounced kuh n-sohl.

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