understand

verb
un·​der·​stand | \ ˌən-dər-ˈstand How to pronounce understand (audio) \
understood\ ˌən-​dər-​ˈstu̇d How to pronounce understand (audio) \; understanding

Definition of understand

transitive verb

1a : to grasp the meaning of understand Russian
b : to grasp the reasonableness of his behavior is hard to understand
c : to have thorough or technical acquaintance with or expertness in the practice of understand finance
d : to be thoroughly familiar with the character and propensities of understands children
2 : to accept as a fact or truth or regard as plausible without utter certainty we understand that he is returning from abroad
3 : to interpret in one of a number of possible ways
4 : to supply in thought as though expressed "to be married" is commonly understood after the word engaged

intransitive verb

1 : to have understanding : have the power of comprehension
2 : to achieve a grasp of the nature, significance, or explanation of something
3 : to believe or infer something to be the case
4 : to show a sympathetic or tolerant attitude toward something

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Other Words from understand

understandability \ ˌən-​dər-​ˌstan-​də-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce understand (audio) \ noun
understandable \ ˌən-​dər-​ˈstan-​də-​bəl How to pronounce understand (audio) \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for understand

understand, comprehend, appreciate mean to have a clear or complete idea of. understand and comprehend are very often interchangeable. understand may, however, stress the fact of having attained a firm mental grasp of something. orders that were fully understood and promptly obeyed comprehend may stress the process of coming to grips with something intellectually. I have trouble comprehending your reasons for doing this appreciate implies a just evaluation or judgment of a thing's value or nature. failed to appreciate the risks involved

Examples of understand in a Sentence

I can't understand a word you're saying. I don't understand these directions. I want you to stay away from her. Do you understand? I don't understand how this is supposed to work. He doesn't really understand the situation. You should read the book in order to understand more about the subject. I can't understand why she would do such a thing. She's beginning to understand what's going on. You have to understand that I had no other choice. At first we didn't get along, but I think we understand each other now.
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Recent Examples on the Web Many researchers, including me, have spent time trying to understand how social media relates to mental health. Param Kulkarni, STAT, 15 Oct. 2021 People in this country don’t seem to understand some issue? Peter Greene, Forbes, 15 Oct. 2021 The Select Committee needs to understand all the details about the events that came before the attack, including who was involved in planning and funding them. Malaika Jabali, Essence, 15 Oct. 2021 Those with their own scars, though, seem to understand. Marina Gomberg, The Salt Lake Tribune, 15 Oct. 2021 Her children were younger when she was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016, but are old enough now to understand what her second diagnosis meant. Adrianna Rodriguez, USA TODAY, 15 Oct. 2021 This willingness to self-interrogate is one of the book’s many strengths, as is Stockman’s ability to really capture the humanity of her sources, to understand lives different from her own. BostonGlobe.com, 15 Oct. 2021 Jonas Loeb, a spokesman for the International union, said that the union itself was struggling to understand precisely how a strike would play out, and which shows would and would not be affected. Gene Maddaus, Variety, 15 Oct. 2021 The news offered further evidence that the pandemic has triggered economic aftershocks that policymakers are struggling to understand, let alone quell. David J. Lynch And Rachel Siegel, Anchorage Daily News, 14 Oct. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'understand.' 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 understand

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for understand

Middle English, from Old English understandan, from under + standan to stand

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Time Traveler for understand

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near understand

understaffed

understand

understandably

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Last Updated

17 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Understand.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/understand. Accessed 18 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for understand

understand

verb

English Language Learners Definition of understand

: to know the meaning of (something, such as the words that someone is saying or a language) : comprehend
: to know how (something) works or happens
: to know how (someone) thinks, feels, or behaves

understand

verb
un·​der·​stand | \ ˌən-dər-ˈstand How to pronounce understand (audio) \
understood\ -​ˈstu̇d \; understanding

Kids Definition of understand

1 : to get the meaning of Do you understand my instructions?
2 : to know thoroughly I understand Spanish. She understands the situation.
3 : to have reason to believe I understand that they will come today.
4 : to take as meaning something not clearly made known I understand the letter to be a refusal.
5 : to have a sympathetic attitude Don't worry, I understand how you feel.
6 : to accept as settled It is understood that I will pay.

More from Merriam-Webster on understand

Nglish: Translation of understand for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of understand for Arabic Speakers

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