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

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

Glimmers of this understanding appear in the HBO series, too. Masha Gessen, The New Yorker, "What HBO’s “Chernobyl” Got Right, and What It Got Terribly Wrong," 4 June 2019 And although the base accepted full responsibility for the phallic drawing in the sky, the public had no understanding of what had actually happened. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "The Legendary Saga of the Navy Sky Dong Concludes," 14 May 2019 Be understanding towards your pup as his nose is much more sensitive to the skunk smell. Janine M. Kahn, Good Housekeeping, "What You Should Do When Your Dog Rolls in Disgusting Stuff, According to Vets," 5 Sep. 2018 My search for understanding has brought internal spaces out into the light. Aaron Gilbreath, Longreads, "The Inward Empire," 27 June 2018 Three decades later, his competitive drive still burns brightly but his fundamental understanding of his place in the coaching universe is different. Matt Le Cren, chicagotribune.com, "Welcome to the hall: Naperville Central coach Ed Watson looks back on stellar 26-year career in girls soccer," 13 July 2018 Needle, fans know, is the name of her sister Arya's sword; having that image close to her heart symbolizes Sansa's newfound understanding of and reconciliation with her sister. Glamour, "The Meaning Behind Sansa Stark's Necklace on Game of Thrones," 23 Apr. 2019 This is because there is a fundamental understanding that when the parts of society with the most pain and lack of protection are cared for, the whole system benefits. Rachel Elizabeth Cargle, Harper's BAZAAR, "Why You Need to Stop Saying "All Lives Matter"," 16 Apr. 2019 All of this requires an understanding of each step of the process and how to adjust accordingly if one factor isn’t optimal. Annemarie Conte, Woman's Day, "What We Learned After Baking Nothing But Bread for 3 Days," 9 Apr. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

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 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

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 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about understanding

Statistics for understanding

Last Updated

7 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for understanding

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

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

to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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!