mis·​un·​der·​stand | \ (ˌ)mi-ˌsən-dər-ˈstand How to pronounce misunderstand (audio) \
misunderstood\ (ˌ)mi-​ˌsən-​dər-​ˈstu̇d How to pronounce misunderstand (audio) \; misunderstanding

Definition of misunderstand

transitive verb

1 : to fail to understand
2 : to interpret incorrectly

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Examples of misunderstand in a Sentence

Don't misunderstand me—I'm not criticizing your decision. He feels that the critics have completely misunderstood his movies. She expressed herself in clear terms that no one could misunderstand.
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Recent Examples on the Web Please do not get caught up in that and don't misunderstand my belief in local government on this issue. Eric Levenson, CNN, "Tennessee governor resists mask mandate in state with soaring rate of new Covid-19 cases," 22 Dec. 2020 Please do not get caught up in that and don’t misunderstand my belief in local government on this issue. Washington Post, "As covid cases spike in Tennessee, health department warns Christmas surge ‘will completely break our hospitals’," 21 Dec. 2020 Nevertheless, Aguilar argues that Democrats misunderstand the aspirations of immigrants. Geraldo Cadava, The New Yorker, "The Deep Origins of Latino Support for Trump," 29 Dec. 2020 Don’t misunderstand: These schools have dynamite football teams, and deserving cases, but this event has become an invitational with very little intrigue. Jason Gay, WSJ, "College Football’s Playoff: Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, Notre Dame…and No Surprises," 21 Dec. 2020 To present Rangnick — or Klopp or Bayern Munich’s Hansi Flick, for that matter — as nothing but a preacher of pressing, though, is to misunderstand the nature of the revolution. Rory Smith, New York Times, "The Oracle Is Speaking Again. Who Will Listen This Time?," 8 Dec. 2020 Brown wants parents to be specific in describing Harris' role, as their children might misunderstand it. Elissa Strauss, CNN, "Talk to your kids about Kamala Harris and other elected women," 3 Dec. 2020 What do people misunderstand or get wrong about school meal programs, particularly within MPS? Kristine M. Kierzek, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Milwaukee Public Schools dietitian creates videos to help kids learn to eat well," 24 Nov. 2020 Latinos nationwide voted in record numbers this year even as political parties consistently generalize about and misunderstand them — yet claim their support in national elections. Washington Post, "Why Texas’s overwhelmingly Latino Rio Grande Valley turned toward Trump," 10 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'misunderstand.' 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 misunderstand

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for misunderstand

Time Traveler

The first known use of misunderstand was in the 13th century

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Statistics for misunderstand

Last Updated

10 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Misunderstand.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/misunderstand. Accessed 1 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for misunderstand



English Language Learners Definition of misunderstand

: to fail to understand (someone or something) correctly


mis·​un·​der·​stand | \ ˌmis-ˌən-dər-ˈstand How to pronounce misunderstand (audio) \
misunderstood\ -​ˈstu̇d \; misunderstanding

Kids Definition of misunderstand

: to fail to get the meaning of : fail to understand

More from Merriam-Webster on misunderstand

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for misunderstand

Nglish: Translation of misunderstand for Spanish Speakers

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