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

The beating was worse, though, because of the principle it was acted out from, in terms of how Fred chose power and punishment over helping this baby, or understanding that Serena didn’t do anything just to be malicious or go behind his back. Jennifer Vineyard, New York Times, "‘The Handmaid’s Tale’: Yvonne Strahovski on the Harrowing Finale and Serena’s Murky Future," 11 July 2018 But that kind of documentation is essential to understanding—and modeling—how and why glaciers calve. Robbie Gonzalez, WIRED, "A Time-Lapsed Glacier Collapse Is the Saddest Science Lesson," 9 July 2018 The understanding is that if Zadina does not make Detroit, Grand Rapids is an option. Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Red Wings sign top pick Filip Zadina to three-year deal," 7 July 2018 There's an art to understanding table turns, being able to quote people accurate wait times. Sarah Nardi, Chicago Reader, "The Bongo Room turns 25: A look back at Wicker Park's beloved brunch spot," 5 July 2018 This trip is run by Crooked Trails, a nonprofit that works to build cultural understanding through sustainable travel. Ac Shilton, Outside Online, "The Food Adventures We Covet Most," 5 July 2018 She will be remembered as an avid reader with a deep understanding of history and humanity. courant.com, "Jeralyn Boccuzzi," 13 July 2018 State your policy clearly: Different kids, different needs, same commitment to meeting needs, with the understanding that life is long and bean-counting serves nobody. Carolyn Hax, Detroit Free Press, "2 adult daughters move back home, but only 1 pays rent," 12 July 2018 And artistic insight can help to frame our understanding of the brain. Daniel Glaser, A-LIST, "Out of Your Mind," 1 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

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 Then, be supportive and understanding during what is really the most challenging time of the year. Diane Kline & Jane Unger, Redbook, "Throw a Judgment-Free Holiday Party," 30 Nov. 2012 Understanding those things and understanding defenses even more. Michael Lev, azcentral, "Kevin Sumlin lays out offseason agenda for Arizona Wildcats football program," 19 Apr. 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

11 Oct 2018

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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