mis·​un·​der·​stand·​ing | \ (ˌ)mi-ˌsən-dər-ˈstan-diŋ How to pronounce misunderstanding (audio) \

Definition of misunderstanding

1 : a failure to understand : misinterpretation The instructions were carefully written to prevent misunderstanding.
2 : quarrel, disagreement an unfortunate misunderstanding between two old friends

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of misunderstanding in a Sentence

The instructions are carefully written in order to avoid misunderstanding. Her comments reflect a misunderstanding of the basic problem. using clear language to avoid misunderstandings an unfortunate misunderstanding between old friends We had our little misunderstandings in the past but we managed to clear them up long ago.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web To avoid any misunderstanding, steer clear of any mention of his royal highness. Travel + Leisure, 14 July 2021 The fight over school food has been rife with misunderstanding and tension. Noemie Bisserbe, WSJ, 14 July 2021 Both called the confusion a language misunderstanding. Jerry Zgoda, Star Tribune, 4 July 2021 Don’t let any small misunderstanding stand in the way of an affectionate relationship. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive, 3 July 2021 The more exercises in tense, militarized border regions, the higher the chances that a misunderstanding could trigger conflict. Washington Post, 2 July 2021 Marine snow represents exactly one such misunderstanding. Jo Livingstone, The New Republic, 1 July 2021 The reporters also looked for evidence that the accuser’s account was part of a pattern, ruling out a single misunderstanding. New York Times, 27 June 2021 More than two weeks after what the landlord called a misunderstanding with the paint crew, artists were out over the weekend in Fountain Square between Virginia Avenue, Woodlawn Avenue and Shelby Street. Domenica Bongiovanni, The Indianapolis Star, 22 June 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'misunderstanding.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of misunderstanding

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About misunderstanding

Time Traveler for misunderstanding

Time Traveler

The first known use of misunderstanding was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near misunderstanding

misty morn







See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for misunderstanding

Last Updated

17 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Misunderstanding.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/misunderstanding. Accessed 24 Jul. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for misunderstanding



English Language Learners Definition of misunderstanding

: a failure to understand something
: a usually minor argument or disagreement


mis·​un·​der·​stand·​ing | \ ˌmis-ˌən-dər-ˈstan-diŋ \

Kids Definition of misunderstanding

1 : a failure to get the meaning of : a failure to understand

More from Merriam-Webster on misunderstanding

Nglish: Translation of misunderstanding for Spanish Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Dog Words Quiz

  • shiba puppy more or less demanding cuddles
  • Which of the following animals has a dog in its etymology?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!