There is a new computer tool called a Google n-gram that surveys Google's million online books in English to find the frequency of occurrence of a word or words.
This is one example where I compare the word sympathy to the word compassion starting in 1850 and running to 1995.
The two words are different. Sympathy relates to someone who would be standing in our shoes or we in their shoes. And puppies and baby harp seals. Compassion deals with all forms of life for which we would not have sympathy, such as mosquitoes or vultures.
I set the n-gram to end in 1995. From many uses I have found the Google book sample to be weird from that point on.
I love the n-gram, I trust my readers will too.