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 Each generation, of course, doesn't completely understand the other ones, so that creates some of the friction in this fiction. Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 21 Sep. 2021 Second, understand that capital gains and dividend taxes are moving targets that go up and down over the years. Jj Kinahan, Forbes, 20 Sep. 2021 Voters in times of trouble certainly understand the need for economic stimulus. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, 20 Sep. 2021 To understand what influences the outcome of the annual Emmy heat is to comprehend the voting practices of the Television Academy. Clayton Davis, Variety, 20 Sep. 2021 Those contracts have like 50 pages; only lawyers understand them. Valeria Ricciulli, Curbed, 20 Sep. 2021 The Red Sox understand there’s still work to be done. BostonGlobe.com, 19 Sep. 2021 Just refine the technique getting back to football, understand those blocking schemes and experience being out there. cleveland, 17 Sep. 2021 Maybe then, Milano reasoned, the world would understand the magnitude of the issue. Cynthia R. Greenlee, SELF, 16 Sep. 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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Statistics for understand

Last Updated

23 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Understand.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/understand. Accessed 24 Sep. 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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