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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Isabella, who was 3 when the legendary broadcaster retired in 2016, could not understand why her mother had started to cry. Thomas Curwenstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 4 Aug. 2022 Players understand when others – particularly elite talents -are reluctant to sign contracts outdated by the time the ink’s dry. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, 3 Aug. 2022 The rare photo of him exists on the back cover of the vinyl copy of the 1995 album Alien Lanes, a record Village Voice critic Robert Christgau clearly didn’t understand. Mike Postalakis, SPIN, 3 Aug. 2022 Girls will understand the importance of amplifying their voice as an individual and a collective. Hartford Courant, 2 Aug. 2022 If terrorists based in Afghanistan plot and kill Americans, the Taliban should understand that their leaders will also be targets. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 2 Aug. 2022 Few today fully understand how groundbreaking her character was for its time. Celia Rose Gooding, The Hollywood Reporter, 2 Aug. 2022 Talking to the board means putting all the details into language that boards can understand—and making sure all goals are aligned. Reuven Aronashvili, Forbes, 1 Aug. 2022 The groups and congressional leaders are urging the U.S. Border Patrol to pause construction of new border walls for 120 days, so the plans can be better evaluated and the public can understand the potential impact of the new structures. San Diego Union-Tribune, 27 July 2022 See More

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.

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

6 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Understand.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/understand. Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for understand

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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