in·​com·​pre·​hen·​sion (ˌ)in-ˌkäm-pri-ˈhen(t)-shən How to pronounce incomprehension (audio)
: lack of comprehension or understanding

Examples of incomprehension in a Sentence

She gave me a look of complete incomprehension. He viewed the situation with incomprehension.
Recent Examples on the Web The death of John Mahoney, in 2018, robbed the revival of another beloved character, the Crane brothers’ proudly proletarian father; an audience surrogate, Martin regarded his sons with supercilious incomprehension from his lumpy recliner, beer in hand. Colin Marshall, The New Yorker, 26 Oct. 2023 The mutual incomprehension and tensions between the French state, and the many citizens who are convinced the protests have a legitimacy founded in a pattern of police violence against minorities, was palpable in Nanterre. Roger Cohen,, 1 July 2023 There was also a marked incomprehension on some readers’ parts of metaphor as a concept. Hazlitt, 12 Apr. 2023 The third is intellectual and implicit, encompassing the complexities of historical incomprehension that characterize the other two. Mark Feeney,, 3 May 2023 With its firmly material elusiveness, the movie builds a mighty emotional complex of family tragedy, the horrors of war, the mutual incomprehension of parents and children, the unslaked anguish of married life, and the inescapable presence of the dead. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 30 Nov. 2022 But when Jackson speaks, the differences between the actor and her character become apparent: Erin talks at two octaves higher, is much more animated, and will contort her entire body just to make a point or scrunch her face in multiple directions at once to show disgust, awe, or incomprehension. Valentina Valentini, Vulture, 7 Oct. 2022 The vortex of mutual incomprehension deepens. Roger Cohen, New York Times, 29 Aug. 2022 In Germany's most densely populated state, officials from the city of Cologne elicited anger and incomprehension after approving a full stadium of 50,000 spectators for a football match between the local club and its regional arch-rival this past weekend. Christiaan Hetzner, Fortune, 2 Dec. 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'incomprehension.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1605, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of incomprehension was in 1605

Dictionary Entries Near incomprehension

Cite this Entry

“Incomprehension.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


in·​com·​pre·​hen·​sion (ˌ)in-ˌkäm-pri-ˈhen-chən How to pronounce incomprehension (audio)
: lack of understanding
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