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

That all came later with computers and an understanding of crush patterns and stuff that just didn’t exist at that point. Josh Rottenberg, Los Angeles Times, "Movies for grown-ups are in short supply. ‘Ford v Ferrari’ aims to prove they still work," 1 Sep. 2019 This is drivel based on an erroneous understanding of how the atmosphere gets its oxygen. Rich Lowry, National Review, "The Amazon Scam," 30 Aug. 2019 This led to an unwritten understanding — often called the rules of the game — about where and how their conflict would and would not play out. Ben Hubbard, New York Times, "The Israel-Iran Shadow War Escalates and Breaks Into the Open," 29 Aug. 2019 Sackville-West and her aristocratic husband, Harold Nicolson, had an understanding; both were bisexual and had frequent affairs. Elena Nicolaou, refinery29.com, "Hear Virginia Wolf & Vita Sackville West's Love Story In Their Own Words," 24 Aug. 2019 The workings of the mind are complex and our understanding of diseases of the brain and of psychology is constantly evolving. David Armstrong, ProPublica, "In Men, It’s Parkinson’s. In Women, It’s Hysteria.," 23 Aug. 2019 Through this process students gain an understanding of modern equipment and techniques, current trends as well as classical techniques. Ramona Sentinel, "Mentors needed to assist Career Technical Education students," 22 Aug. 2019 What fanfic gave the new generation of creators was the understanding that there can be many stories at once. Laurie Penny, WIRED, "We Can Be Heroes: How the Nerds Are Reinventing Pop Culture," 19 Aug. 2019 Iniesta won nine La Liga titles with Barca as well as four Champions Leagues, and had an immense understanding with Xavi. SI.com, "Pep Guardiola: The Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Man City Legend's All-Time Best XI," 13 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

This will help get rid of any miscommunication and will allow for a more understanding couple. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Here’s How To Figure Out Your Love Language," 29 Aug. 2019 But the play will live on as the partly embarrassing, partly comical and partly understanding folly of the season. Anthony Fenech, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers explain blooper-reel home run: 'We didn't communicate well'," 14 Aug. 2019 Puerto Ricans are a remarkably tolerant and understanding people. Time, "This is Puerto Rico's Moment for Real Change," 25 July 2019 As the 15-year-old prepares to graduate from eighth grade, she's gained a better understanding of working out conflicts, understanding emotions and regulating her behavior. David Mcfadden, baltimoresun.com, "Baltimore schools’ mission: Help students cope with trauma," 31 July 2019 And so understanding just how much variation there is. Eric Johnson, Vox, "Mayor Pete Buttigieg talks about systemic racism, regulating tech, and the divided Democratic Party on Recode Decode," 15 July 2019 Not all companies need the same thing, so understanding where the organization is headed and what its challenges and opportunities are will help build a solid foundation to inform the research team’s mandate and roadmap. Christina Janzer, Quartz at Work, "Slack’s director of research explains how to build your best user research team," 15 July 2019 Lopez: Why is understanding contempt as our problem so important? Nr Interview, National Review, "A Political Renewal?," 11 June 2019 But also understanding fashion is a political choice. al.com, "Days of Future Past: Mobile exhibitions loop time," 4 June 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

Statistics for understanding

Last Updated

17 Sep 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

authorized for issue (as a bond)

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

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!