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 : a mutual agreement not formally entered into but in some degree binding on each side
b : friendly or harmonious relationship
c : an agreement of opinion or feeling : adjustment of differences

understanding

adjective

Definition of understanding (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun While the life of Andrew Jackson is undoubtedly complex, and his legacy is complicated, Mead’s understanding of America’s past will drive us to misunderstand both the Age of Jackson and the Age of Trump. Daniel Gullota, National Review, "Donald Trump Is No Andrew Jackson," 10 Feb. 2020 This, of course, is hindered by society’s lack of understanding and lack of commitment to support women through this process. Marisa Lascala, Good Housekeeping, "The Postpartum Care Tips OB/Gyns Wish You Knew," 5 Feb. 2020 But the complaint says Li never signed that letter of understanding and instead continued to hold full-time status. Jeffrey Mervis, Science | AAAS, "Ex-Emory scientist with ties to China charged with fraud," 5 Feb. 2020 Perhaps the most immediate effect of the New York City commission’s new focus will be an understanding in the fashion industry at large that an agency with broad abilities to require change is watching. Vanessa Friedman, New York Times, "Miuccia Prada Will Be Getting Sensitivity Training," 4 Feb. 2020 In 2009, smartphone producers including Apple signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding agreeing to harmonize chargers. Hadas Gold, CNN, "Europe wants one charger that works for every device," 30 Jan. 2020 Other bands have been more understanding when their drummers encountered the difficulties that life presents. Kevin Cullen, BostonGlobe.com, "In awkward Aerosmith breakup, sympathy for the drummer," 23 Jan. 2020 Based on research from the 1960s, Lentink says, there was a previous understanding that birds had hook-like microstructures on their feathers that created friction. Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, "What This PigeonBot Tells Us About the Future of Flight," 21 Jan. 2020 For Chukwu the takeaway comes back to a sense of understanding. Hilary Lewis, The Hollywood Reporter, "How 'Clemency' Team Tried to Capture Humanity of Death-Row Inmates, Prison Workers," 18 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective An encouraging and understanding mentor can go a long way in nurturing budding researchers. Navjot Kaur, Quartz India, "How to survive a PhD: hacks from a research scholar," 26 Dec. 2019 My boss was very understanding when my co-worker, who was outspoken about her diabetes, left early to pick up medication or came in late for a doctor’s appointment. Bonnie Azoulay, Health.com, "How to Talk About Your Mental Illness at Work," 16 Dec. 2019 In a new documentary, Prince William speaks about the importance of his children playing outside and understanding nature. Victoria Murphy, Town & Country, "Prince William Shares that Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis Enjoy "Playing on Tractors"," 19 Oct. 2019 Be especially kind and understanding to avoid a downturn in the atmosphere. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive, "Horoscope for Oct. 5, 2019: Happy birthday Kate Winslet; Pisces, avoid misunderstandings," 5 Oct. 2019 Having empathy is important and understanding how that creative process, performance, practice and learning has its ups and downs. Harley Brown, Billboard, "Reservoir Founder Golnar Khosrowshahi On the Publisher's Data-First Approach and 'Getting Deeper Into Masters'," 30 Sep. 2019 Some people look at us weird or are not always understanding or nice. Julia Sclafani, Daily Pilot, "Local police officers’ gift of custom scooter keeps boy with epilepsy cruising," 30 Sep. 2019 Reducing inequality is the key to accelerating progress, and understanding inequality is the key to reducing it. Annalisa Merelli, Quartz, "The Gates Foundation says that inequality stands in the way of progress," 16 Sep. 2019 This will help get rid of any miscommunication and will allow for a more understanding couple. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Here’s How To Figure Out Your Love Language," 29 Aug. 2019

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.

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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 2

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Time Traveler for understanding

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for understanding

Last Updated

15 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Understanding.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/understanding. Accessed 29 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for understanding

understanding

noun
How to pronounce understanding (audio)

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

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Comments on understanding

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