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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web In response to detailed questions, commission spokeswoman Terrie Prosper said that Stebbins’ allegation of $200 million in missing fines and fees was the result of a misunderstanding of the commission’s accounting practices. Scott Morris, ProPublica, "She Noticed $200 Million Missing, Then She Was Fired," 24 Dec. 2020 Ralph Barnes, vice president of Morlin Asset Management, which handles property and facility management for Union Station, said the cancellation was the result of a misunderstanding. Hayley Smith, Los Angeles Times, "After outcry, L.A. reinstates COVID-19 testing upended by Union Station film shoot," 1 Dec. 2020 Both women are still at the reception for Braunwyn’s vow renewals, along with the rest of the cast, and are trying to resolve their misunderstanding over Shannon’s upcoming tincture (not water!). Marcus Jones, EW.com, "The Real Housewives of Orange County," 26 Nov. 2020 Rather than shaming people for their misunderstanding—or even their willful indifference to the facts—Nan and her team are looking for alternatives. Eleanor Cummins, The New Republic, "Why We Can’t Comprehend 250,000 Covid Deaths," 19 Nov. 2020 Benson and Nelson refute the findings, arguing the report is riddled with errors and shows a misunderstanding of election operations. Dave Boucher, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan's Electoral College delegates cast all 16 votes for Joe Biden, Kamala Harris," 14 Dec. 2020 Some continue to fight the idea that neutral forces drive diversity at the molecular level, but Parul Johri, a population geneticist at Arizona State University, largely chalks that up to a misunderstanding of its role in evolution. Quanta Magazine, "How Neutral Theory Altered Ideas About Biodiversity," 8 Dec. 2020 Letters published in the Readers Write section of this paper show that some writers may have a misunderstanding of our form of government as well as our Constitution. Star Tribune, "Readers Write: Voting, the Electoral College, Minneapolis police, delisting gray wolves," 3 Nov. 2020 The outcry over this jarring statistic reflects a basic misunderstanding about taxable income. Alex Muresianu, National Review, "What Biden Gets Wrong on Taxes and Manufacturing," 16 Dec. 2020

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.

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First Known Use of misunderstanding

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for misunderstanding

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for misunderstanding

Last Updated

6 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Misunderstanding.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/misunderstanding. Accessed 21 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for misunderstanding


How to pronounce misunderstanding (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for misunderstanding

Nglish: Translation of misunderstanding for Spanish Speakers

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