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

What's contained in the memo, Candelaria Reardon said, must have been a misunderstanding. Kaitlin Lange, Indianapolis Star, "'I stand before you a condemned man,': AG Curtis Hill says he's been unfairly judged," 9 July 2018 Specifically, McGowan urges readers to not place blame on Argento, because to do so would be a misunderstanding of suicide and mental illness. Kathryn Lindsay, refinery29.com, "Rose McGowan Shares Open Letter Supporting Asia Argento Following Anthony Bourdain's Death," 11 June 2018 But Joke Bijl, a forest service spokeswoman, says this is a misunderstanding: all animal populations run up against barriers. The Economist, "A Dutch park that mimics nature angers animal-rights activists," 7 June 2018 This only perpetuates one of the biggest misunderstandings since the first time former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick knelt in August 2016. David Haugh, chicagotribune.com, "NFL's new anthem rule requiring players to stand shows owners support social activism only on their terms," 23 May 2018 There are a lot of misunderstandings and misconceptions about people who are perceived as less than others. Akilah Johnson, BostonGlobe.com, "Adults marvel at youth-led gun control movement; Boston teens say it’s about time," 22 Mar. 2018 Even the harmless memento reveals a misunderstanding in America about Russia and its culture. Elizabeth Myong, Houston Chronicle, "Russians in Houston have diverse views on international affairs," 8 July 2018 The summit was the product of Trump’s own misunderstanding and rash decision-making in the first place, and not in any way coordinated with our allies or other key players in East Asia (i.e., China). Jonah Shepp, Daily Intelligencer, "Trump’s Credibility Problem Is Now America’s," 26 May 2018 When coupled, Cancers must remember that misunderstanding and miscommunications are commonplace, and a simple disagreement does not make your lover your enemy. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What Your Zodiac Sign Says About Your Worst Relationship Habit," 14 May 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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Last Updated

21 Oct 2018

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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

What made you want to look up misunderstanding? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to reject or criticize sharply

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