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

Our society is quick to shame and misunderstand people on the ace spectrum. Corinne Werder, Allure, "The Shame-Free Guide to Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder," 23 May 2019 Even when the Klingons are attacking, the computer never misunderstands commands—human or otherwise. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, "Google Just Proved That Our Voice Is the Ultimate UI," 7 May 2019 Yet all these brands fundamentally misunderstand the concept. Gabi Thorne, Allure, "We Need to Talk About “Consent Condoms,” and Why They Don’t Work," 11 Apr. 2019 Further, as Atlantic columnist David Frum points out, Trump misunderstands the actual American objections to a pipeline between Germany and Russia. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Trump says “Germany is a captive to Russia.”," 11 July 2018 And suicide has been vastly misunderstood over the years. CBS News, "What not to say when talking about suicide," 21 June 2018 This is something people may misunderstand about evolution: Species survive because of diversity. Brian Resnick, Vox, "Genetics has learned a ton — mostly about white people. That’s a problem.," 27 Oct. 2018 In other words, trans people are misunderstood, and this unsubstantiated fear has legitimate consequences for trans individuals. Vogue, "Teddy Quinlivan: Why I’m Standing Up Against Trump’s Anti-Trans Agenda," 26 Oct. 2018 What do people in the U.S. consistently misunderstand about diplomacy with North Korea? Joseph Hincks/seoul, Time, "Victor Cha on What to Expect from the Trump-Kim Summit," 7 June 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

16 Jun 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).


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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