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

Don’t worry, there is some one besides you, looking after me.’ Thomas misunderstood. Rebecca Hazen, Houston Chronicle, "Great grandson of Churchill speaks about Prime Minster’s life, faith," 30 Apr. 2018 Often mislabeled or misunderstood as an investment, an annuity is a product designed by insurance companies to hedge against the chance... Kevin Mcallister, WSJ, "If You’re Considering an Annuity, Start by Understanding What You Get," 10 Mar. 2019 Presented with the 2015 email denying that Vale owned any upstream dams, the spokeswoman said on Feb. 1 that Mr. Cavalli had misunderstood a reporter’s question. Rhiannon Hoyle, WSJ, "Vale Denied Having ‘Upstream’ Dams Ahead of Deadly Accident," 10 Feb. 2019 The bill’s supporters argued that Cotton either misunderstood the bill or was misleading the public about it. German Lopez, Vox, "The Senate just passed criminal justice reform," 19 Dec. 2018 Often her ideas would be misunderstood, only later recognized as groundbreaking and pioneering. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "Kim, Kate, Juergen, Pam, and More Cheer on Vivienne Westwood as She Receives an Honor from the Fashion Awards," 5 Dec. 2018 My Instagram post was meant to be fun and lighthearted, it was misunderstood as something other than that. Fox News, "Gwyneth Paltrow denies Amber Rose’s theory that she’s ‘Becky,’ slept with Jay-Z," 2 Oct. 2018 The extremity of this, Cruz thinks, is widely misunderstood. Gaby Wood, Marie Claire, "Penélope Cruz Isn't Scared to Look Back," 4 Jan. 2019 Netflix, everyone misunderstood what Netflix was doing. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Full Q&A: Redef CEO Jason Hirschhorn returns to Recode Media with Peter Kafka," 23 Aug. 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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Statistics for misunderstand

Last Updated

7 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

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 How to pronounce misunderstand (audio) \
misunderstood\ -​ˈstu̇d \; misunderstanding

Kids Definition of misunderstand

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on misunderstand

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with misunderstand

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for misunderstand

Spanish Central: Translation of misunderstand

Nglish: Translation of misunderstand for Spanish Speakers

Comments on misunderstand

What made you want to look up misunderstand? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


marked by a state of overwhelming emotion

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