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 understanding (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 The stories of Chávez and Cobo may help close this grave gap in understanding; certainly, that is their hope. BostonGlobe.com, "Fleeing death in Guatemala, two Ixil Maya activists hope to continue their defense of indigenous rights from the US — if they can stay," 1 May 2021 Adaptable beyond our understanding, robins have made themselves at home from Texas to the tundra. John Gurda, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Opinion: When the red, red robin goes bob, bob bobbing along, it won't be with John Gurda," 30 Apr. 2021 That was out of the question—their behavior was not commensurable with our understanding of universal laws. Gideon Lewis-kraus, The New Yorker, "How the Pentagon Started Taking U.F.O.s Seriously," 30 Apr. 2021 Over the past 15 years neuroscience has dramatically changed our understanding of the structural and functional changes in the brain during adolescence, which runs from around the age of 10 all the way into the mid-20s. Lydia Denworth, Scientific American, "Adolescent Brains Are Wired to Want Status and Respect: That’s an Opportunity for Teachers and Parents," 28 Apr. 2021 Perhaps the reasoning of this law lies in an understanding of the ultimate purpose of life. Rabbi Avi Weiss, sun-sentinel.com, "Emor parsha: Why a kohen can’t have contact with death," 26 Apr. 2021 Root everything in deep understanding of customers. Stephen Wunker, Forbes, "Three Steps B2B Companies Can Take To Transform Commercialization," 21 Apr. 2021 In the extremely rare murder-suicide cases, like what occurred in Allen earlier this month, there’s even less understanding. Sharon Grigsby, Dallas News, "We’re asking the wrong questions after a Dallas-area murder-suicide left 6 dead. Here’s why that must change," 13 Apr. 2021 Hannah Pethen, a British archaeologist and honorary fellow of the University of Liverpool, who has worked on excavations in Egypt but wasn't involved in the Luxor dig, said the discovery was a landmark in the understanding of the region. NBC News, "Inside Egypt's 3,000-year-old 'lost golden city'," 9 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Their practice times change daily because of the overlap, and the kids have been incredibly responsible and understanding. Jeff Vorva, chicagotribune.com, "After coaching Sandburg’s boys volleyball team to a big win, David Vales went back into the gym to coach the girls. And he’s not alone.," 22 Apr. 2021 Another position with a more understanding boss would be great — but that option is largely outside your control, and your focus would still be hampered by covid stress, plus having to learn a new job. Washington Post, "Grief about my father’s death is making it hard to concentrate at work," 22 Apr. 2021 Lucky for him, his wife (Connie Nielson) is very understanding, and his dad (Christopher Lloyd) and an old colleague (RZA) show up to help when the shooting starts. Jim Kiest, San Antonio Express-News, "Watch the thriller 'Nobody' starring Bob Odenkirk at home Friday on streaming digital and cable on demand," 14 Apr. 2021 An analysis of employees’ experience during the pandemic by Great Place to Work revealed a strong tie between employee productivity and adaptability, on the one hand, and leadership that is honest and understanding, on the other. Claire Hastwell, Fortune, "How the Best Workplaces in Technology plan to go from virtual to hybrid workplaces," 9 Apr. 2021 While Queen Elizabeth II expressed her support, others were not so understanding. Minyvonne Burke, NBC News, "From Kobe to California fires: Some of 2020's biggest non-Covid, non-election stories," 31 Dec. 2020 My job was extremely understanding, and my co-workers were so accommodating. Malita Gardner, Good Housekeeping, "Returning to Work After Cancer Forced Me to Reprioritize My Life," 14 Dec. 2020 Rather than taking a stand, try to be more understanding. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive, "Horoscope for Oct. 28, Happy birthday Gwendoline Christie; Libra, use your good taste," 28 Oct. 2020 However, a week earlier, when the two were flying down to Naples, Fla., to visit family, Jodi said the flight attendants were more understanding. Daniella Genovese, Fox News, "Mother asked to deplane Southwest flight with her 2-year-old because he wasn't wearing a mask, she says," 14 Sep. 2020

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

4 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Understanding.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/understanding. Accessed 14 May. 2021.

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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 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

Comments on understanding

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