understand

verb
un·​der·​stand | \ ˌən-dər-ˈstand How to pronounce understand (audio) \
understood\ ˌən-​dər-​ˈstu̇d How to pronounce understand (audio) \; 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 How to pronounce understand (audio) \ noun
understandable \ ˌən-​dər-​ˈstan-​də-​bəl How to pronounce understand (audio) \ 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 The script needs fewer Einstein facts and standup comedy and a lot more of a lucid and more-subdued Hank helping the audience understand and invest in what’s happening onstage. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: North Coast Rep’s ‘Einstein Comes Through’ a mystery that leaves questions," 30 Apr. 2021 There are plenty of former students who are in positions to help the current students understand their world even better than from just a book. courant.com, "Community News For The Putnam-Killingly Edition," 30 Apr. 2021 Garner's attorney, Sarah Schielke, said her client has dementia and sensory aphasia, which impairs her ability to verbally communicate with people or understand others' communications. NBC News, "Three more officers on leave over arrest of 73-year-old woman with dementia," 29 Apr. 2021 Better data on dust could help researchers understand more about how clouds form, grow and interact with each other. Richard Kemeny, Smithsonian Magazine, "How Extreme Temperature Swings in Deserts Stir Sand and Dust," 29 Apr. 2021 Google rolled out some new updates to the Google Assistant that will help it correctly pronounce people’s names as well as understand users’ winding trains of thought. Fortune, "The battle of two tech giants," 29 Apr. 2021 Demonstrate a sincere interest in wanting to learn and understand their point of view before sharing your opinion. Avery Blank, Forbes, "3 Ways To Disagree With A Coworker While Remaining Supportive," 28 Apr. 2021 His team has helped renters understand the protections put in place to temporarily stop evictions and how to access government funds to pay rent. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "Burning Man, motel vaccinations, eviction law help: News from around our 50 states," 28 Apr. 2021 That is what no one at that party, those red-faced realtors and white-wine spritzers in heels, would understand. Brian Moylan, Vulture, "The Real Housewives of New Jersey Recap: Ass Kissers," 28 Apr. 2021

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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Time Traveler for understand

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for understand

Last Updated

2 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Understand.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/understand. Accessed 10 May. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce understand (audio) \
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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Comments on understand

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