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

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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 Right now, Cuban is outspoken and loud, to the benefit of many on the receiving end of his ideas, generosity, understanding, compassion and drive. Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban motivated by 'right thing to do' in coronavirus crisis," 26 Mar. 2020 Neural networks are used in speech recognition and understanding, as well as computer vision. Sara Castellanos, WSJ, "Intel to Release Neuromorphic-Computing System," 18 Mar. 2020 The Municipality of Anchorage is providing an update to the community to give the public a more comprehensive understanding of the Anchorage-wide response to COVID-19, including why these actions are being taken. Anchorage Daily News, "Watch: Anchorage city officials discuss coronavirus response after emergency order," 17 Mar. 2020 Later in the century, though, as men like Samuel Birch, Karl Richard Lepsius, and Auguste Mariette moved toward a more empirical understanding of ancient Egypt, that became less and less the case. Jimmy Maher, Ars Technica, "How alternative Egyptology and scientific archaeology were born on the Giza Plateau," 15 Mar. 2020 Worker understanding of production processes empowering deeper contributions to productivity were the heart of the Japanese Kaizen Toyota Production System miracle in the 1970s and 1980s. Jaron Lanier, Wired, "AI is an Ideology, Not a Technology," 15 Mar. 2020 Visiting Egypt was a transformative experience, the pinnacle of a lifelong fascination with its history, as well as a newfound, nuanced understanding of the humans who walk through it. Todd Plummer, Condé Nast Traveler, "What I Learned Traveling to a Destination That Doesn't Accept Who I Am," 12 Mar. 2020 Part of such understanding, Claire Foster of the Australian National University, in Canberra, argues, is a better perception of the role in fires of animals. The Economist, "Wildfires Fauna, as much as flora, govern susceptibility to wildfires," 7 Mar. 2020 Fan reactions were a mix — some understanding, some disappointed and angry that the festival will not be giving refunds to people whose primary reason for attending M3F just canceled. Ed Masley, azcentral, "The highs and lows of M3F 2020 in downtown Phoenix," 6 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective 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 My boss was very understanding when my co-worker, who was outspoken about her diabetes, left early to pick up medication or came in late for a doctor’s appointment. Bonnie Azoulay, Health.com, "How to Talk About Your Mental Illness at Work," 16 Dec. 2019 In a new documentary, Prince William speaks about the importance of his children playing outside and understanding nature. Victoria Murphy, Town & Country, "Prince William Shares that Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis Enjoy "Playing on Tractors"," 19 Oct. 2019 Be especially kind and understanding to avoid a downturn in the atmosphere. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive, "Horoscope for Oct. 5, 2019: Happy birthday Kate Winslet; Pisces, avoid misunderstandings," 5 Oct. 2019 Having empathy is important and understanding how that creative process, performance, practice and learning has its ups and downs. Harley Brown, Billboard, "Reservoir Founder Golnar Khosrowshahi On the Publisher's Data-First Approach and 'Getting Deeper Into Masters'," 30 Sep. 2019 Some people look at us weird or are not always understanding or nice. Julia Sclafani, Daily Pilot, "Local police officers’ gift of custom scooter keeps boy with epilepsy cruising," 30 Sep. 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.

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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 2

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Time Traveler for understanding

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for understanding

Last Updated

28 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Understanding.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/understanding. Accessed 8 Apr. 2020.

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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

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Comments on understanding

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