mis·​un·​der·​stand | \ (ˌ)mi-ˌsən-dər-ˈstand How to pronounce misunderstand (audio) \
misunderstood\ (ˌ)mi-​ˌsən-​dər-​ˈstu̇d How to pronounce misunderstood (audio) \; misunderstanding

Definition of misunderstand

transitive verb

1 : to fail to understand
2 : to interpret incorrectly

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Examples of misunderstand in a Sentence

Don't misunderstand me—I'm not criticizing your decision. He feels that the critics have completely misunderstood his movies. She expressed herself in clear terms that no one could misunderstand.
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Recent Examples on the Web

You may be mystified by some conversations or feel that your meaning is misunderstood, but this brief fog dissipates quickly. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive, "Horoscope for Sept. 6, 2019: Happy birthday Idris Elba; stick to the facts Aquarius," 6 Sep. 2019 Many China scholars insist that Americans fundamentally misunderstand Xi Jinping and China. Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, "The Age of Miscalculation," 19 Aug. 2019 At the root of the problem is that these grassy ecosystems are fundamentally misunderstood. Caroline Lehmann, Quartz Africa, "When tree planting actually damages ecosystems," 28 July 2019 However, the American is wary that his role at Stamford Bridge could be misunderstood and has moved to reassure Chelsea supporters. SI.com, "Ahead of Debut Season With Chelsea, Pulisic Distances Himself From Hazard Comparisons," 21 July 2019 Some people could misunderstand or be put off by your well-meaning acts of sympathy. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive, "Horoscope for Sept. 7, 2019: Happy birthday Evan Rachel Wood; Virgo, use your energy and take the lead," 7 Sep. 2019 Allen has said that the intent of her comments was misunderstood, and Senate President Karen Fann as well as Gov. Doug Ducey have defended her. Andrew Oxford, azcentral, "'They have firearms galore.' Lawmaker's comments about communities of color draw gasps," 6 Sep. 2019 This is just one way Montag feels she and Pratt were misunderstood. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Make the Women of The Hills Famous Again," 24 June 2019 Living with uncertainty is an essential part of science, and it is easily misunderstood. Peter Byrne, Quanta Magazine, "Waiting for the Revolution," 24 May 2013

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'misunderstand.' 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 misunderstand

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for misunderstand

Last Updated

7 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for misunderstand

The first known use of misunderstand was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for misunderstand



English Language Learners Definition of misunderstand

: to fail to understand (someone or something) correctly


mis·​un·​der·​stand | \ ˌmis-ˌən-dər-ˈstand How to pronounce misunderstand (audio) \
misunderstood\ -​ˈstu̇d \; misunderstanding

Kids Definition of misunderstand

: to fail to get the meaning of : fail to understand

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More from Merriam-Webster on misunderstand

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with misunderstand

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for misunderstand

Spanish Central: Translation of misunderstand

Nglish: Translation of misunderstand for Spanish Speakers

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