understand

verb
un·​der·​stand | \ ˌən-dər-ˈstand How to pronounce understand (audio) \
understood\ ˌən-​dər-​ˈstu̇d How to pronounce understood (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 understandability (audio) \ noun
understandable \ ˌən-​dər-​ˈstan-​də-​bəl How to pronounce understandable (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 @kingarthurflour sourdough intensive class helped me understand the mechanics and art of bread baking so much better. Annemarie Conte, Woman's Day, "What We Learned After Baking Nothing But Bread for 3 Days," 9 Apr. 2019 To fully understand what went down, here's all the tea on Khloé/Tristan/Jordyn cheating scandal. Yerin Kim, Seventeen, "Wait, Did Khloé Kardashian Just Confirm That Jordyn Woods and Tristan Thompson Hooked Up?," 20 Feb. 2019 That's a job for the stars, because while astrology can help us understand ourselves, it's also meant to be fun. Allure, "In Honor of International Women’s Day, See Which Powerful Women Share Your Zodiac Sign," 8 Mar. 2019 Its purpose is to encourage kids to behave, and help them understand that the holidays are about more than just receiving gifts. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "'Peep on a Perch' Is the New 'Elf on a Shelf'," 8 Mar. 2019 Epstein’s connections are crucial to understanding his story. Jane Coaston, Vox, "Jeffrey Epstein, the convicted sex offender who is friends with Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, explained," 22 Feb. 2019 Every couple has their own inside jokes that not everyone understands. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "Jenny McCarthy Has a Strange Habit While Watching Donnie Wahlberg on 'Blue Bloods'," 19 Jan. 2019 Artificial intelligence is a process: something to be examined, deliberated, and — if all goes well — understood. James Vincent, The Verge, "The Verge 2018 tech report card: AI," 30 Dec. 2018 To understand why that mattered, consider a report this week on the link between K-12 school choice and college success. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Florida’s Voucher Vindication," 8 Feb. 2019

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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Statistics for understand

Last Updated

24 Apr 2019

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 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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