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verb com·pre·hend \ˌkäm-pri-ˈhend, -prē-\

Simple Definition of comprehend

  • : to understand (something, such as a difficult or complex subject)

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of comprehend

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to grasp the nature, significance, or meaning of <unable to comprehend what has happened>

  3. 2 :  to contain or hold within a total scope, significance, or amount <philosophy's scope comprehends the truth of everything which man may understand — H. O. Taylor>

  4. 3 :  to include by construction or implication <does not prudence comprehend all the virtues? — Thomas B. Silver>

comprehendible play \-ˈhen-də-bəl\ adjective

Examples of comprehend in a sentence

  1. <the age at which children can comprehend the difference between right and wrong>

  2. <it took me a while to comprehend algebra>

Origin of comprehend

Middle English, from Anglo-French comprendre, comprehendre, from Latin comprehendere, from com- + prehendere to grasp — more at get

First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of comprehend

understand, comprehend, appreciate mean to have a clear or complete idea of. understand and comprehend are very often interchangeable. understand may, however, stress the fact of having attained a firm mental grasp of something <orders that were fully understood and promptly obeyed>. comprehend may stress the process of coming to grips with something intellectually <I have trouble comprehending your reasons for doing this>. appreciate implies a just evaluation or judgment of a thing's value or nature <failed to appreciate the risks involved>.

include, comprehend, embrace, involve mean to contain within as part of the whole. include suggests the containment of something as a constituent, component, or subordinate part of a larger whole <the price of dinner includes dessert>. comprehend implies that something comes within the scope of a statement or definition <his system comprehends all history>. embrace implies a gathering of separate items within a whole <her faith embraces both Christian and non-Christian beliefs>. involve suggests inclusion by virtue of the nature of the whole, whether by being its natural or inevitable consequence <the new job involves a lot of detail>.

COMPREHEND Defined for Kids


verb com·pre·hend \ˌkäm-pri-ˈhend\

Definition of comprehend for Students


  1. 1 :  to understand fully

  2. 2 :  to take in :  include

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up comprehend? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a smart aleck

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