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verb un·der·stand \ˌən-dər-ˈstand\

Simple Definition of understand

  • : to know the meaning of (something, such as the words that someone is saying or a language)

  • : to know how (something) works or happens

  • : to know how (someone) thinks, feels, or behaves

Full Definition of understand

un·der·stoodplay \-ˈstu̇d\un·der·stand·ing

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 a :  to grasp the meaning of <understand Russian> b :  to grasp the reasonableness of <his behavior is hard to understand> c :  to have thorough or technical acquaintance with or expertness in the practice of <understand finance> d :  to be thoroughly familiar with the character and propensities of <understands children>

  3. 2 :  to accept as a fact or truth or regard as plausible without utter certainty <we understand that he is returning from abroad>

  4. 3 :  to interpret in one of a number of possible ways

  5. 4 :  to supply in thought as though expressed <“to be married” is commonly understood after the word engaged>

  6. intransitive verb
  7. 1 :  to have understanding :  have the power of comprehension

  8. 2 :  to achieve a grasp of the nature, significance, or explanation of something

  9. 3 :  to believe or infer something to be the case

  10. 4 :  to show a sympathetic or tolerant attitude toward something

un·der·stand·abil·i·ty play \-ˌstan-də-ˈbi-lə-tē\ noun
un·der·stand·able play \-ˈstan-də-bəl\ adjective

Examples of understand

  1. I can't understand a word you're saying.

  2. I don't understand these directions.

  3. I want you to stay away from her. Do you understand?

  4. I don't understand how this is supposed to work.

  5. He doesn't really understand the situation.

  6. You should read the book in order to understand more about the subject.

  7. I can't understand why she would do such a thing.

  8. She's beginning to understand what's going on.

  9. You have to understand that I had no other choice.

  10. At first we didn't get along, but I think we understand each other now.

Origin of understand

Middle English, from Old English understandan, from under + standan to stand

First Known Use: before 12th century

Synonym Discussion of understand

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>.



adjective un·der·stand·able \ˌən-dər-ˈstan-də-bəl\

Definition of understandable

  1. 1 :  possible or easy to get or realize the meaning of :  capable of being understood <For several minutes no one spoke an understandable sentence, which greatly added to the confusion. — Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth>

  2. 2 :  normal and reasonable for a particular situation <an understandable reaction>

un·der·stand·ably \-blē\ adverb

Seen and Heard

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February 7, 2016

a slight offense

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