Simple Definition of comprehend
: to understand (something, such as a difficult or complex subject)
Full Definition of comprehend
1 : to grasp the nature, significance, or meaning of <unable to comprehend what has happened>
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>
3 : to include by construction or implication <does not prudence comprehend all the virtues? — Thomas B. Silver>
Examples of comprehend
<the age at which children can comprehend the difference between right and wrong>
<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
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>.
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