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 informant, Stefan Halper, an American academic who teaches at Cambridge University in England, had meetings with both Carter Page and George Papadopoulos to gain a better understanding of their contacts with Russians. Mark Mazzetti, New York Times, "White House Orders Broader Access to Files About F.B.I. Informant," 12 July 2018 How is a better understanding of that interaction going to lead to better air quality? Emily Williams, BostonGlobe.com, "BU professor granted almost $1 million to study air pollution," 9 July 2018 Its goal would be to provide a better understanding of how technology is likely to change business practices and what needs to be done in preparation to promote employment. Amy Chance, sacbee, "'Not all machines are evil,' and other thoughts on California's changing economy," 2 July 2018 It’s given me a well-rounded understanding of how St. Viator works in regard to the everyday functioning. Brenden Welper, chicagotribune.com, "Q&A: Jason Kuffel, St. Viator's new athletic director," 2 July 2018 In contrast, the distribution graphs give researchers a much better understanding of how often individual papers in a journal are actually cited than can be provided by a single number. Matt Warren, Science | AAAS, "Firm that tallies controversial journal impact scores moves to provide more context," 27 June 2018 Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer moved to cut the funds, citing the need for a more comprehensive understanding of their costs. Dominic Fracassa, SFChronicle.com, "SF supervisors hold back funding for police Tasers, citing concern over true costs," 25 June 2018 Vance gives readers an exclusive look into SpaceX, Tesla, and SolarCity, while also giving us a better understanding of Elon Musk’s mind. Polina Marinova, Fortune, "18 Biographies of the Most Successful People in Business," 22 June 2018 Current tests are more effective at diagnosing the disease in its later stages, but a better understanding of the bacteria's evolution could help medical experts diagnose syphilis in its early stages. National Geographic, "Syphilis DNA Pulled From Colonial-Era Bones," 21 June 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

25 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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