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 So while short online video seems more like the purview of a social network or YouTube, the fact is that TV and moviemakers already understand the qui in Quibi. Adam Rogers, Wired, "Hollywood Bets On a Future of Quick Clips and Tiny Screens," 8 Jan. 2020 Red wine pairs well with pretending to understand football. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "30 Best Super Bowl Captions for Instagram That'll Score All the Likes on Game Day," 8 Jan. 2020 For all its vague terminology, activating your core is actually an important cue for anyone working out to understand. Amy Marturana Winderl, SELF, "What Does ‘Activate Your Core’ Even Mean?," 3 Jan. 2020 This is because research participants often don’t understand the complex scientific jargon used in consent documents or processes, especially where use of their samples or data in the future is concerned. Keymanthri Moodley, Quartz Africa, "Africa’s genetic material is still being misused," 23 Dec. 2019 Pirsig attempts to reconcile two opposing human desires: to pursue an aesthetic life devoted to metaphysical knowledge and the arts, and to understand the practical workings of technology and machines. Jay Bennett, Smithsonian, "The Cycle From ‘Zen, Art and Motorcycle Maintenance’ Comes to the Smithsonian," 21 Dec. 2019 Eventually, Uber Eats understood the blunder and went out of its way to think beyond Hindi. Karthik Srinivasan, Quartz India, "How brands are hurting themselves with pan-India “Hinglish” ads," 25 Dec. 2019 Most of them are poorly understood, including the giant freshwater stingray. Stefan Lovgren, National Geographic, "This giant stingray could be world's biggest freshwater fish," 24 Dec. 2019 Palpatine has sent a mysterious message across the galaxy, and the good guys are desperate to understand it. John Wenzel, The Know, "Review: “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” sticks the landing, for the most part," 18 Dec. 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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Learn More about understand

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

16 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Understand.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/understandable. Accessed 20 January 2020.

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More Definitions for understand

understand

verb
How to pronounce understand (audio)

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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