understanding

noun
un·​der·​stand·​ing | \ ˌən-dər-ˈstan-diŋ \

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

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Other Words from understanding

Adjective

understandingly \ ˌən-​dər-​ˈstan-​diŋ-​lē \ 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

And take this promise, this trust, of our supply chain and the way we source, and our understanding of the customer, and then meet you in all of these different channels. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Why Sweetgreen thinks like a tech company," 17 Dec. 2018 Facebook employees emphasized that the event was to promote safety and understanding in its customers. Casey Newton, The Verge, "22 predictions for social media in 2019," 15 Dec. 2018 Alzheimer’s Caregiver Support Group First Monday: Find support and understanding with this group. Mary Lou Cruz, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Fort Lauderdale area events July 18-28," 13 July 2018 Troubling patterns do exist across the U.S., and discussions about them can play an important role in shaping both public understanding and education policy. Jack Schneider, The Atlantic, "The Problem With Generalizing About ‘America’s Schools’," 5 July 2018 Families seeking safety in our country need protection, understanding and opportunity, not detention. Hilary Hughes, Billboard, "Selena Gomez, Alicia Keys, Chrissy Teigen & More Rally to Support #FamiliesBelongTogether March," 30 June 2018 Thank you again for your patience and understanding during this time of change. Paul Bond, The Hollywood Reporter, "Disney-Fox Deal Approved by Department of Justice," 27 June 2018 For many, diagnosis is validating and/or leads to self-understanding. Alice Bolin, Longreads, "The Daughter as Detective," 26 June 2018 That was the first one that was really good, and that actually had some natural language understanding in it. Eric Johnson, Recode, "What’s next for virtual assistants like Alexa? Maybe buying stuff for you automatically.," 24 Dec. 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.

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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 1

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Last Updated

18 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for understanding

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

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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 \

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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