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

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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

The destruction in Maracaibo, where blackouts were the norm long before March, defied easy understanding. Washington Post, "Venezuela’s misery doesn’t even spare the dead in Maracaibo," 19 June 2019 Changing the current understanding by barring subsequent prosecutions would allow foreign court actions to preclude U.S. trials for crimes against Americans, the government said. NBC News, "Supreme Court declines to change double jeopardy rule in a case with Manafort implications," 17 June 2019 Al-Emadi regularly visits Gaza to implement indirect understandings between Israel and Hamas. Fox News, "Qatari envoy delivers aid to Gaza in cease-fire effort," 17 June 2019 New research touted the benefits of aerobic exertion, expanding the popular understanding of exercise to include arenas outside of smelly weight rooms. Natalia Mehlman Petrzela, The Atlantic, "The World That Jazzercise Built," 16 June 2019 Clothing is one avenue where these understandings can get jumbled. Aram Mrjoian, Longreads, "Bearing the Weight of My Grandfathers’ Old Clothes," 15 June 2019 In the third video of our members-only series on how to start and build a digital community, Quarles explains how understanding why your users value your product is a critical step toward growing it. Quartz, "How to turn the things that motivate people into an actual business," 15 June 2019 This led to the beginning of an epic quest to form his own identity within a larger understanding of who his African-descendent people were. Charles David Kleymeyer, Smithsonian, "Meet Juan García Salazar, the Man Who Championed Black Identity in Ecuador," 14 June 2019 Howard signed a memorandum of understanding on May 22 for a five-year deal for a combined $11.2 million. Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press, "Juwan Howard's Michigan basketball staff: Here are the salaries," 13 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Lopez: Why is understanding contempt as our problem so important? Nr Interview, National Review, "A Political Renewal?," 11 June 2019 But also understanding fashion is a political choice. al.com, "Days of Future Past: Mobile exhibitions loop time," 4 June 2019 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

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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Statistics for understanding

Last Updated

21 Jun 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 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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