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 Now, a study of two dozen terms related to emotion in nearly 2500 languages suggests those misunderstandings aren’t all in your head. Catherine Matacic, Science | AAAS, "What is love? It depends which language you speak," 19 Dec. 2019 The apparent misunderstanding is about the nature of work for many people in the 21st century. Los Angeles Times, "California’s employment law was rewritten. Many independent contractors aren’t thrilled," 23 Sep. 2019 The misunderstanding was quickly and peacefully resolved in about 15 minutes, largely because Cashman was driving his own vehicle at the time. Gregory B. Hladky, courant.com, "Multiple mix-ups led to scary police incident with Yankees GM Cashman," 10 Aug. 2019 Most fundamental is the basic misunderstanding of what gender means as a grammatical concept. Declan Leary, National Review, "‘Latinx’ Is a Stupid Word," 11 July 2019 One of the fundamental misunderstandings at the root of Trumpian attacks on Vindman has to do with his country of origin. Masha Gessen, The New Yorker, "How Trump’s Supporters Distort Alexander Vindman’s Very American Origin Story," 31 Oct. 2019 Lots of misunderstandings and misgivings all around. Monitor Staff, The Christian Science Monitor, "Baffled by Brexit? You’re not alone.," 12 Feb. 2019 Containing this outbreak has been complicated by violence and misunderstandings in a part of Congo that had never reported an Ebola case before. BostonGlobe.com, "You're using a browser set to private or incognito mode.," 5 Dec. 2019 Due to a pronunciation misunderstanding, the Alexandria Ceremonial Police Orchestra from Egypt shows up in a tiny Israeli desert town, stranded overnight until a morning bus can take them to the real location of their concert. Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Funny, poignant 'The Band's Visit' is a honey of a musical at Marcus Center's Broadway series," 27 Nov. 2019

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

14 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Misunderstanding.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/misunderstanding. Accessed 22 January 2020.

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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

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