understanding

noun
un·​der·​stand·​ing | \ ˌən-dər-ˈstan-diŋ How to pronounce understanding (audio) \

Definition of understanding

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a mental grasp : comprehension
2a : the power of comprehending especially : the capacity to apprehend general relations of particulars
b : the power to make experience intelligible by applying concepts and categories
3a : friendly or harmonious relationship
b : an agreement of opinion or feeling : adjustment of differences
c : a mutual agreement not formally entered into but in some degree binding on each side

understanding

adjective

Definition of understanding (Entry 2 of 2)

1 archaic : knowing, intelligent
2 : endowed with understanding : tolerant, sympathetic an understanding supervisor

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from understanding

Adjective

understandingly \ ˌən-​dər-​ˈstan-​diŋ-​lē How to pronounce understandingly (audio) \ adverb

Examples of understanding in a Sentence

Noun

He has a thorough understanding of the subject. She has a basic understanding of the process. I hope to get a clearer understanding of the issues involved. He seems to have little understanding of our situation. We have an understanding that whoever cooks doesn't have to do the dishes. She treats them with kindness and understanding. a relationship based on mutual understanding

Adjective

a kind and understanding teacher who often helps troubled students
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Without such steps being emphasized in emergency checklists, crews may lack a full understanding of how MCAS works and how to disable it, these pilots say. Andrew Tangel, WSJ, "Pilots Take Aim at Instructions for Boeing 737 MAX," 3 Apr. 2019 The Sesame Workshop's autism initiatives started back in 2015, with materials aimed to increase awareness, empathy, support, and understanding for families. Marisa Lascala, Good Housekeeping, "Sesame Street Launches New Storyline Starring Julia and Her Family in Honor of Autism Awareness Month," 1 Apr. 2019 Tsukamoto has furthered the understanding of the circulatory systems of cancer patients, inching the field ever closer to a cure. Jill Kiedaisch, Popular Mechanics, "32 Women Who’ve Changed Life As We Know It," 31 Mar. 2019 Boston Symphony Orchestra The first auditorium built based on scientific understanding of acoustics, Symphony Hall combines European-inspired architecture with what continues to be the best acoustics in the country. Elizabeth Wellington, Condé Nast Traveler, "16 Best Things to Do in Boston," 2 Aug. 2018 That said, this biography makes an important contribution to a fuller understanding of Mr. Willughby’s pioneering career. David Holahan, The Christian Science Monitor, "'The Wonderful Mr. Willughby' profiles a pioneer of ornithology and early scientist," 12 July 2018 Among them are the beliefs that the freedoms of others should be respected; beliefs should conform to a scientific understanding of the world; and that the struggle for justice is an ongoing and necessary pursuit. Justin L. Mack, Indianapolis Star, "Why The Satanic Temple Indiana adopted a stretch of highway in Boone County," 12 July 2018 However, understanding Camille's parentage is crucial to understanding, well — just about everything in Sharp Objects. refinery29.com, "Who Is Camille's Father In Sharp Objects?," 9 July 2018 The State Department says Pompeo will try to get a better understanding during his trip. John Hudson, chicagotribune.com, "Pompeo travels to North Korea at critical juncture in nuclear talks," 5 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

But actually understanding intersectionality requires going back to the work of the woman who coined the term: Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, a law professor with dual appointments at Columbia and UCLA. Zack Beauchamp, Vox, "The 9 thinkers who made sense of 2018’s chaos," 27 Dec. 2018 Most importantly a massive thanks to my 3 gorgeous girls for being so understanding and supportive, without their support this could never have happened! Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Queen's Cousin Makes History with First Same-Sex Royal Wedding," 24 Sep. 2018 Brooklyn Decker is thankful for her understanding husband. Alexia Fernandez, PEOPLE.com, "Brooklyn Decker Hilariously Reveals How Her Husband Saved Her From a Mommy Meltdown with Tequila," 27 Jan. 2018 Kane Brown praises his very understanding girlfriend, while Aldean sings Miranda Lambert's praises. Melinda Newman, Billboard, "Go Backstage at CMA Fest 2018 With Kane Brown, Jason Aldean, Kelsea Ballerini & More," 8 June 2018 Their stories are vital to fully understanding World War II, as well as being fascinating. Janet Beard, Time, "The Women's History Hidden in America's Nuclear Past," 8 Mar. 2018 The hardest thing for me, working on this project, was understanding dairy production. Noor Brara, Vogue, "Natalie Portman's Eating Animals Documentary Sheds Light on a Problem That Is No Longer Avoidable," 15 June 2018 The current superintendent, Robert Shaner, appears to be as understanding as Telford’s super was. Rochelle Riley, Detroit Free Press, "Detective fights racism in suburb where shots were fired at black kid," 10 June 2018 The announcement, made on the v2 forums and reposted this morning by the official v2 Twitter handle, is a disappointing but understanding turn of events. Nick Statt, The Verge, "Vine co-founder postpones successor v2 for ‘indefinite amount of time’," 4 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'understanding.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of understanding

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about understanding

Statistics for understanding

Last Updated

12 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for understanding

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for understanding

understanding

noun

English Language Learners Definition of understanding

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the knowledge and ability to judge a particular situation or subject
: an informal agreement
: a willingness to understand people's behavior and forgive them

understanding

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of understanding (Entry 2 of 2)

: showing sympathy and kindness : tolerant or sympathetic

understanding

noun
un·​der·​stand·​ing | \ ˌən-dər-ˈstan-diŋ How to pronounce understanding (audio) \

Kids Definition of understanding

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : ability to get the meaning of and judge He lacks an understanding of what's going on.
2 : an agreement of opinion or feeling We've come to an understanding about how to proceed.
3 : a willingness to show kind or favorable feelings toward others
4 : the particular way in which someone understands something It's my understanding that they're coming.

understanding

adjective

Kids Definition of understanding (Entry 2 of 2)

: having or showing kind or favorable feelings toward others : sympathetic

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on understanding

What made you want to look up understanding? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

not to be persuaded, moved, or stopped

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!