comprehend

verb
com·​pre·​hend | \ ˌkäm-pri-ˈhend How to pronounce comprehend (audio) , -prē-\
comprehended; comprehending; comprehends

Definition of comprehend

transitive verb

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 …— Henry Osborn Taylor
3 : to include by construction or implication Does not prudence comprehend all the virtues?— Thomas B. Silver Our civilization comprehends great variety and complexity …— Perry Meisel

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Other Words from comprehend

comprehendible \ ˌkäm-​pri-​ˈhen-​də-​bəl How to pronounce comprehendible (audio) , -​prē-​ \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Did You Know?

To comprehend is to mentally grasp something's complete nature or meaning. Comprehend is thus often a bit stronger than understand: for example, you may understand the instructions in a handbook without completely comprehending their purpose. Comprehend's second meaning is much less common. Using that sense of the word, we could say that good manners comprehends (that is, includes) more than simple table etiquette, for example, or that true courage comprehends more than just physical showing off. And something comprehensive includes a great deal: so a comprehensive exam, for instance, includes all the material that was studied in the course.

Examples of comprehend in a Sentence

the age at which children can comprehend the difference between right and wrong it took me a while to comprehend algebra

Recent Examples on the Web

Christian girl autumn exists only because of hot girl summer To fully comprehend the eruption of Christian girl autumn is to understand how the past few months became known as hot girl summer. Alex Abad-santos, Vox, "“Christian girl autumn,” explained.," 14 Aug. 2019 There are more than 8 million barrels still sitting in Kentucky — the loss of 45,000 is tough to comprehend, but the show will go on. Lucas Aulbach, The Courier-Journal, "A eulogy for the 6 million bottles of bourbon that may be lost in the Jim Beam fire," 3 July 2019 But the answer to this question can be quite complicated and deserves professional intervention to truly comprehend. Ramona Sentinel, "Crime Prevention Corner: Domestic abuse comes in many forms," 26 June 2019 That will give concrete advice for women and physicians [in] an outward-facing knowledge bank that is easy to comprehend and summarizes all the evidence. STAT, "How Europe is building a sweeping system to study medication safety in pregnant and lactating women," 21 June 2019 Our eyesight may dim and our recall may falter, but by comparison, our ability to produce and to comprehend language is well preserved into older adulthood. Roger J. Kreuz, Quartz, "The one skill that doesn’t deteriorate with age," 13 Sep. 2019 These decontextualized, clickbaity ideas are repeated by people who haven’t comprehended the research. Wired, "The Danger of Thinking We’re All ‘Addicted’ to Tech," 13 Sep. 2019 The test was about highlighting relevant words, not comprehending text. Gary Marcus, Quartz, "Six questions to ask yourself when reading about AI," 12 Sep. 2019 The unpredictable and debilitating symptoms mimic a stroke and can include these visual auras as well as sensory auras (numbness and tingling), motor auras (partial temporary paralysis), and aphasia (the inability to comprehend or speak). Sunny Fitzgerald, Glamour, "It Took a 400-Mile Trek for Me to Finally Stop Resenting My Body," 14 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'comprehend.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of comprehend

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for comprehend

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

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Statistics for comprehend

Last Updated

16 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for comprehend

The first known use of comprehend was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for comprehend

comprehend

verb

English Language Learners Definition of comprehend

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

comprehend

verb
com·​pre·​hend | \ ˌkäm-pri-ˈhend How to pronounce comprehend (audio) \
comprehended; comprehending

Kids Definition of comprehend

1 : to understand fully
2 : to take in : include

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Comments on comprehend

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