Definition of understand
1a : to grasp the meaning of understand Russianb : to grasp the reasonableness of his behavior is hard to understandc : to have thorough or technical acquaintance with or expertness in the practice of understand financed : 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
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
understandabilityplay \ˌən-dər-ˌstan-də-ˈbi-lə-tē\ noun
understandableplay \ˌən-dər-ˈstan-də-bəl\ adjective
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.
Recent Examples of understand from the Web
Former NFL offensive lineman Tavon Rooks, who entered the league in 2014 as a sixth-round pick of the Saints, fully understands the mentality.
A lot of first-time writers don’t understand how pivotal marketing and promotion is to their books.
Blazak recommends the city conduct a community-wide assessment to understand populations that could use the most support and systems that need improving.
Many of his works involve oral histories used as a way to understand racial and cultural differences.
This remedial understanding of my sexuality fails to understand bisexuality's fluidity and complexity.
The County Council worked Monday to better understand the time line and plans for the revitalization of the ailing Long Reach Village Center.
In fact, for people who understand the transitory nature of this place, what happens next seems almost preordained.
The improved resolution will also help scientists better understand many other deep-ocean processes, Picard explains, including landslides and pockmarks, craterlike features possibly caused by the escape of an unknown fluid or gas.
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.
Origin and Etymology of understand
Middle English, from Old English understandan, from under + standan to stand
First Known Use: before 12th centurySee Words from the same year
Synonym Discussion of understand
UNDERSTAND Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of understand for English Language Learners
: 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 Defined for Kids
Definition of understand for Students
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.
Seen and Heard
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