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 bad news, for some, is that there is a genetic component to blackheads, meaning that certain people are more prone to developing them, although the underlying reason for this isn't yet fully understood. Allure, "How to Get Rid of Blackheads, According to Dermatologists," 3 May 2019 But thanks to the work of LGTBQ people and allies, the world is finally understanding that this is not the case. Jasmine Gomez, Seventeen, "What Does 'Agender' Mean?," 3 May 2019 In camp, these fragments, the lost cultural matter, become a private code, like windings, filled with an esoteric significance that, once recognized, becomes so enthralling it must then be shared so as to be understood by the like-minded. Teen Vogue, "What Is Butchcamp? An Explainer by Way of 10 Past Met Gala Looks," 2 May 2019 This is best understood as the result of your pelvic floor’s self-defensive mechanism in response to endometriosis, Dr. Dassel says. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "8 Ways People With Endometriosis Deal With the Pain," 24 Apr. 2019 It is understood there will be an announcement when The Duchess goes into labour and one at some point following the birth. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "When Is Meghan Markle's Due Date? Here's When the Royal Baby Will Likely Be Born," 18 Apr. 2019 The only part that's not understood is exactly how they're related. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "How Are Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen Related?," 15 Apr. 2019 These adjustments can be significant, and their effects on executive pay are poorly understood by shareholders—raising the risk that non-GAAP numbers... Robert J. Jackson Jr. And Robert C. Pozen, WSJ, "Executive Pay Needs a Transparent Scorecard," 10 Apr. 2019 In fact, one of the most difficult parts of development was turning the art style into something that could be easily understood by players. Andrew Webster, The Verge, "The art behind the gorgeous indie game Gris," 20 Dec. 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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Statistics for understand

Last Updated

8 May 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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