understand

verb
un·​der·​stand | \ˌən-dər-ˈstand \
understood\ ˌən-​dər-​ˈstu̇d \; understanding

Definition of understand 

transitive verb

1a : to grasp the meaning of understand Russian

b : to grasp the reasonableness of his behavior is hard to understand

c : to have thorough or technical acquaintance with or expertness in the practice of understand finance

d : to be thoroughly familiar with the character and propensities of understands children

2 : to accept as a fact or truth or regard as plausible without utter certainty we understand that he is returning from abroad

3 : to interpret in one of a number of possible ways

4 : to supply in thought as though expressed "to be married" is commonly understood after the word engaged

intransitive verb

1 : to have understanding : have the power of comprehension

2 : to achieve a grasp of the nature, significance, or explanation of something

3 : to believe or infer something to be the case

4 : to show a sympathetic or tolerant attitude toward something

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Other Words from understand

understandability \ ˌən-​dər-​ˌstan-​də-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē \ noun
understandable \ ˌən-​dər-​ˈstan-​də-​bəl \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for understand

understand, comprehend, appreciate mean to have a clear or complete idea of. understand and comprehend are very often interchangeable. understand may, however, stress the fact of having attained a firm mental grasp of something. orders that were fully understood and promptly obeyed comprehend may stress the process of coming to grips with something intellectually. I have trouble comprehending your reasons for doing this appreciate implies a just evaluation or judgment of a thing's value or nature. failed to appreciate the risks involved

Examples of understand in a Sentence

I can't understand a word you're saying. I don't understand these directions. I want you to stay away from her. Do you understand? I don't understand how this is supposed to work. He doesn't really understand the situation. You should read the book in order to understand more about the subject. I can't understand why she would do such a thing. She's beginning to understand what's going on. You have to understand that I had no other choice. At first we didn't get along, but I think we understand each other now.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Jacquet understands that her intended career path is a formidable challenge, but talking to experienced women in the field and researching online haves sustained her. Abby Haglage, refinery29.com, "4 Black Girls With Big Dreams & The 4 Women Living Them," 13 July 2018 The president should clearly understand that neither the Russians nor dictators like Kim Jong-un are going to be charmed by anybody. Chuck Todd, NBC News, "Supreme Court battle overshadows bad news for Trump," 9 July 2018 Nissan understands and regrets the concern and inconvenience caused to stakeholders as a result of its [inspection process] issues last year. David Meyer, Fortune, "Nissan Shares Tank as It Admits That Some of Its Factories Faked Emissions and Fuel Efficiency Test Data," 9 July 2018 Researchers have only recently begun to understand the effects of extreme heat on cities. Alissa Walker, Curbed, "Our cities are getting hotter—and it’s killing people," 6 July 2018 There's a big reason why the LGBTQIA+ acronym keeps growing, and that's because people are beginning to understand the complex fluidity of sexuality. Alison Caporimo, Seventeen, "Am I Demisexual?," 2 July 2018 But understand that on that path, crashes will continue to happen. Aarian Marshall, WIRED, "Home From the Honeymoon, the Self-Driving Car Industry Faces Reality," 13 July 2018 So having open dialogue with them, understanding what their concerns and issues are, trying to be a good neighbor — which Formula E has at its heart. Michelle R. Martinelli, For The Win, "6 things to know about Formula E's championship race in New York," 13 July 2018 Casual players were able to practice with their friends and better understand the game, while die-hard Fortnite aficionados created meme-worthy posts for Reddit and Twitter fame. Nick Statt, The Verge, "The future of Fortnite may look a lot like Playground mode," 11 July 2018

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

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for understand

Middle English, from Old English understandan, from under + standan to stand

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Last Updated

6 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for understand

The first known use of understand was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for understand

understand

verb

English Language Learners Definition of understand

: to know the meaning of (something, such as the words that someone is saying or a language)

: to know how (something) works or happens

: to know how (someone) thinks, feels, or behaves

understand

verb
un·​der·​stand | \ˌən-dər-ˈstand \
understood\ -​ˈstu̇d \; understanding

Kids Definition of understand

1 : to get the meaning of Do you understand my instructions?

2 : to know thoroughly I understand Spanish. She understands the situation.

3 : to have reason to believe I understand that they will come today.

4 : to take as meaning something not clearly made known I understand the letter to be a refusal.

5 : to have a sympathetic attitude Don't worry, I understand how you feel.

6 : to accept as settled It is understood that I will pay.

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