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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Such is the understanding nature of Musk fans, who still want to help their hero see the error of his ways. Marina Koren, The Atlantic, "The Cult of Elon Is Cracking," 20 May 2020 Antibody studies, also known as seroprevalence research, are considered critical to understanding where an outbreak is spreading and can help guide decisions on restrictions needed to contain it. NBC News, "CDC plans sweeping COVID-19 antibody study in 25 metropolitan areas," 19 May 2020 That comparison requires a careful ethic is the lesson three years on, for the sake of understanding and mobilization alike. Samuel Moyn, The New York Review of Books, "The Trouble with Comparisons," 19 May 2020 Why New York’s leaders, Cuomo and de Blasio, had yet to do similarly was beyond understanding. Joaquin Sapien, ProPublica, "Two Coasts. One Virus. How New York Suffered Nearly 10 Times the Number of Deaths as California.," 16 May 2020 Over the past couple of years, deep learning has produced striking progress in language understanding. Will Knight, Wired, "Watson's Creator Wants to Teach AI a New Trick: Common Sense," 9 May 2020 The first phase of this work involves understanding precisely what is happening and how to control things. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Rocket Report: Military space plane returns to pad, SLS engine costs soar," 8 May 2020 But establishing an upper bound is another step toward understanding, which is the mathematical goal in every numbers game. Quanta Magazine, "To Win This Numbers Game, Learn to Avoid Math Patterns," 7 May 2020 Life truly is a beautiful journey of learning and understanding. Emily Dixon, Marie Claire, "The Queen's Cousin, Prince Richard, Offered a Rare Glimpse Inside Kensington Palace," 5 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Your 3-year-old is understanding notions like opposites (big versus small and old versus new), time of day and matching objects. New York Times, "The science of your 3-year-old," 18 Apr. 2020 However, very understanding due to the rising concerns regarding the virus. Ben Thomas | Bthomas@al.com, al, "'It’s awful:’ No school means no high school spring sports champions in 2020," 26 Mar. 2020 People are generally very understanding about the need not to meet in person right now. Melissa Quinn, CBS News, "Houses of worship and states battle over coronavirus restrictions," 16 Apr. 2020 Researchers will then evaluate the data to see if wearing an Apple Watch and understanding heart health can lower the incidence of cardiac events. Don Reisinger, Fortune, "Apple pushes deeper into health research with Johnson & Johnson heart study," 25 Feb. 2020 Theo WargoGetty Images Blue Ivy thinks watching the Super Bowl is a cool way to spend a Sunday, and now I, in spite of not quite understanding football, think watching the Super Bowl is a cool way to spend a Sunday. Jenny Hollander, Marie Claire, "Blue Ivy Carter Is the MVP at This Year's Super Bowl," 3 Feb. 2020 And what a lucky little girl to be born into such a loving and understanding family. cleveland, "The world is celebrating World Down Syndrome Day today," 21 Mar. 2020 My bosses were extremely understanding and supportive. Jessica Radloff, Glamour, "What It’s Like to Be a Flight Attendant During the Coronavirus Pandemic," 19 Mar. 2020 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

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about understanding

Time Traveler for understanding

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for understanding

Last Updated

23 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Understanding.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/understanding. Accessed 24 May. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on understanding

What made you want to look up understanding? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Obscure Shapes

  • a pile of three dimensional shapes in green
  • Something that is ooid is shaped like:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!