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 While the life of Andrew Jackson is undoubtedly complex, and his legacy is complicated, Mead’s understanding of America’s past will drive us to misunderstand both the Age of Jackson and the Age of Trump. Daniel Gullota, National Review, "Donald Trump Is No Andrew Jackson," 10 Feb. 2020 Shuckerow said those add-backs should not be misunderstood: The governor will reconfirm the majority of his budget vetoes on Monday. James Brooks, Anchorage Daily News, "Dunleavy delays announcement of final budget vetoes until Monday," 16 Aug. 2019 The plane was flown from Edmonton to Montreal by Captain Weir, who had misunderstood a conversation with Yaremko and thought the fuel‑gauge problem was an ongoing issue and not something that had just happened. Matt Parker, Wired, "Bad Math, Pepsi Points, and the Greatest Plane Non-Crash Ever," 23 Jan. 2020 La’Darius Marshall Confident and at times misunderstood, La’Darius took being extra to a whole new level. Andrea Wurzburger, PEOPLE.com, "Ready to Go Full-Out? Here's Where to Follow the Cast of Netflix's Cheer on Instagram," 21 Jan. 2020 But commentators have questioned whether the royal couple have misunderstood their true cost to the country, arguing their statement doesn’t appear to cover some of the costs embedded in royal life, such as security. Washington Post, "Royal courtiers chart path for Prince Harry’s independence," 10 Jan. 2020 Longtime collaborators Allie X and Troye Sivan tackle being misunderstood by the ones closest to you on this layered and haunting pop ballad from her upcoming album, Cape God. Jon Ali, Billboard, "Queer Necessities: Cub Sport, Miss Benny & More on Billboard Pride's January 2020 Playlist," 7 Jan. 2020 There’s plenty of dishing throughout: Angela Davis misunderstood I, Tituba; the Calabash Literary Festival is mediocre. Julian Lucas, Harper's magazine, "New Books," 6 Jan. 2020 The book not only allows preemptive thinking but also delves on multiple touch points that are commonly misunderstood from a global perspective. Ananya Bhattacharya, Quartz India, "What India’s startup bosses read in 2019 and how it helped them," 30 Dec. 2019

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

24 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Misunderstand.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/misunderstand. Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for misunderstand


How to pronounce misunderstand (audio)

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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