mis·un·der·stand | \ (ˌ)mi-ˌsən-dər-ˈstand \
misunderstood\-ˈstu̇d \; 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

Eggplants are finicky, complicated, and often misunderstood. Leah Rodriguez, The Cut, "Queer Eye’s Antoni Recommends Breaking Up Over a Bowl of Cheese," 6 July 2018 Privacy - Terms Elder Bednar notes that the quality of meekness is often misunderstood. Glenna Christensen, idahostatesman, "True meekness requires self-mastery and strength, and doesn't equate to weakness," 14 June 2018 Science writer Zimmer threads together many intriguing narratives—each a story about how researchers tackled, and often misunderstood, heredity. Andrea Gawrylewski, Scientific American, "Apollo, the Graphic Novel; Scientists on Acid and Other New Science Books," 1 June 2018 These and other recent references to Levinson’s film suggest that it is widely misunderstood. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Trump Is Already Wagging The Dog," 12 Apr. 2018 President Trump set off some chaos Thursday morning by posting a tweet that seemed to misunderstand his own party’s position on the stopgap bill. Carolyn Lochhead, San Francisco Chronicle, "House passes spending bill to keep government open. Senate to vote soon.," 18 Jan. 2018 Don’t misunderstand: Mr. Putin hasn’t had a change of heart or decided to mend fences with the West. Walter Russell Mead, WSJ, "Putin’s Success Masks Russian Weakness," 4 June 2018 There were no pleas for the privacy of his family or even a line to suggest that followers of the famous krew perhaps misunderstood what was going on behind the scenes. refinery29.com, "Kanye West Isn't Afraid To Keep Up With The Kardashian On Ye," 1 June 2018 No one in a position of real authority here at Amazon is willing to be misunderstood for long periods of time on diversity. Jason Del Rey, Recode, "Amazon employees are outraged by their company’s opposition to a plan to add more diversity to its board," 8 May 2018

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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Last Updated

8 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for misunderstand

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

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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 \
misunderstood\-ˈstu̇d \; misunderstanding

Kids Definition of misunderstand

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

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Comments on misunderstand

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the setting in which something occurs

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