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

Thanks to him, optimists everywhere came to believe that hatred was a misunderstanding and that contact could fix it. K.n.c., The Economist, "How to increase empathy and unite society," 7 June 2019 The Timbers released a statement saying that the allegations were not true and that there could have been a misunderstanding. Jamie Goldberg, oregonlive.com, "Portland Timbers coach Giovanni Savarese: ‘I’m proud of the way my players played’ against LAFC," 5 June 2019 And the biggest thing happening is a misunderstanding. Nicholas Thompson, WIRED, "How Facebook Checks Facts and Polices Hate Speech," 6 July 2018 McGuire tried to explain that his threat was actually a misunderstanding – a heated comment made after a series of horrible events. Eli Saslow, Anchorage Daily News, "He threatened to kill himself. So the police took his guns.," 18 Mar. 2018 At Auschwitz, History’s Lessons Mangled by Polish Holocaust Law Jacek Sasin an aide to the prime minister, insisted Friday that the dispute is a misunderstanding. Marek Strzelecki, Bloomberg.com, "Poland Must Acknowledge Anti-Semitism, Wiesenthal Center’s Founder Says," 2 Mar. 2018 All of the above is rooted in House of Cards’ fundamental misunderstanding of how to build its final season. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "House of Cards’ dismal ending proves it never had anything to say," 2 Nov. 2018 Her use of genetic testing also exaggerates the fundamental misunderstanding of how tribal nations — and nationhood — works. Rory Taylor, Teen Vogue, "DNA Tests Are Not An Indicator of Native Identity," 19 Oct. 2018 There is also the possibility that using lyrics as text reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of how a picture book works. Nell Beram, New York Times, "Bob Dylan and Will Smith: Children’s Authors?," 2 July 2018

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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Statistics for misunderstanding

Last Updated

17 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for misunderstanding

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

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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

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Comments on misunderstanding

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