What does understand mean?

Definitions for understand
ˌʌn dərˈstændun·der·stand

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word understand.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. understandverb

    know and comprehend the nature or meaning of

    "She did not understand her husband"; "I understand what she means"

  2. understand, realize, realise, seeverb

    perceive (an idea or situation) mentally

    "Now I see!"; "I just can't see your point"; "Does she realize how important this decision is?"; "I don't understand the idea"

  3. understand, read, interpret, translateverb

    make sense of a language

    "She understands French"; "Can you read Greek?"

  4. understand, inferverb

    believe to be the case

    "I understand you have no previous experience?"

  5. sympathize, sympathise, empathize, empathise, understandverb

    be understanding of

    "You don't need to explain--I understand!"


  1. understandverb

    To be aware of the meaning of.

  2. understandverb

    To believe, based on information.

    I understand that you have information for me.

  3. understandverb

    To impute meaning, character etc. that is not explicitly stated.

  4. understandverb

    To apply values (axioms).

  5. Etymology: From understanden, from understandan, from under + standanan, equivalent to under- + standan. Cognate with understunda, understantan, Middle understande. Compare also onderstaan, unterstehen. More at inter-, stand.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. To Understandverb

    preterite understood.

    Etymology: understandan , Saxon.

    The Ulysses of Ovid upbraids his ignorance, that he understood not the shield for which he pleaded. Dryden.

    His sin might have been greater in that respect: but that it was not so to be understood, appears by the opposition. Edward Stillingfleet.

    The most learned interpreters understood the words of sin, and not of Abel. John Locke.

  2. To Understandverb

    I have given thee a wise and understanding heart. Chronicles.

    I understood of the evil Eliashib did. Neh. xiii. 7.

    I understand by Sanga, you have been
    Solicited against the commonwealth
    By one Umbrenus. Ben Jonson, Cataline.

    All my soul be
    Imparadis’d in you, in whom alone
    I understand, and grow, and see. John Donne.


  1. understand

    Understanding is a psychological process related to an abstract or physical object, such as a person, situation, or message whereby one is able to use concepts to model that object. Understanding is a relation between the knower and an object of understanding. Understanding implies abilities and dispositions with respect to an object of knowledge that are sufficient to support intelligent behavior.Understanding is often, though not always, related to learning concepts, and sometimes also the theory or theories associated with those concepts. However, a person may have a good ability to predict the behavior of an object, animal or system—and therefore may, in some sense, understand it—without necessarily being familiar with the concepts or theories associated with that object, animal, or system in their culture. They may have developed their own distinct concepts and theories, which may be equivalent, better or worse than the recognized standard concepts and theories of their culture. Thus, understanding is correlated with the ability to make inferences.


  1. understand

    Understanding can be defined as the ability to comprehend or grasp the meaning, importance, or significance of information, ideas, concepts, or situations. It involves a deeper level of comprehension, where one can make connections, interpret, and synthesize information, leading to a meaningful awareness or knowledge about a subject matter. Understanding often involves a combination of cognitive processes such as perception, attention, memory, and reasoning, which enable individuals to make sense of and effectively interact with the world around them.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Understandverb

    to have just and adequate ideas of; to apprehended the meaning or intention of; to have knowledge of; to comprehend; to know; as, to understand a problem in Euclid; to understand a proposition or a declaration; the court understands the advocate or his argument; to understand the sacred oracles; to understand a nod or a wink

  2. Understandverb

    to be apprised, or have information, of; to learn; to be informed of; to hear; as, I understand that Congress has passed the bill

  3. Understandverb

    to recognize or hold as being or signifying; to suppose to mean; to interpret; to explain

  4. Understandverb

    to mean without expressing; to imply tacitly; to take for granted; to assume

  5. Understandverb

    to stand under; to support

  6. Understandverb

    to have the use of the intellectual faculties; to be an intelligent being

  7. Understandverb

    to be informed; to have or receive knowledge

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Understand

    un-dėr-stand′, v.t. to comprehend: to have just ideas of: to know thoroughly: to be informed of: to learn: to suppose to mean: to mean without expressing: to imply.—v.i. to have the use of the intellectual faculties: to be informed: to learn.—adj. Understan′dable.—p.adj. Understan′ded (obs.), understood (with of).—n. Understan′ding, the act of comprehending: the faculty or the act of the mind by which it understands or thinks: the power to understand: knowledge: exact comprehension: agreement of minds: harmony.—adj. knowing, skilful.—adv. Understan′dingly.—Understands′, in Scotch Version of Psalms, used for Understandest. [A.S. understandan, to stand under or in the midst of a thing.]

Editors Contribution

  1. understand

    To feel and know intuitively.

    They did understand the nature of their love, unity and engagement and knew their marriage was for life.

    Submitted by MaryC on February 15, 2020  

  2. understand

    To perceive intuitively through the brain, conscience, consciousness, heart, mind, spirit, soul and subconscious.

    We do understand each other and trust the unity of our soul and love.

    Submitted by MaryC on February 15, 2020  

Matched Categories

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'understand' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #676

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'understand' in Written Corpus Frequency: #456

  3. Verbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'understand' in Verbs Frequency: #91

How to pronounce understand?

How to say understand in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of understand in Chaldean Numerology is: 3

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of understand in Pythagorean Numerology is: 3

Examples of understand in a Sentence

  1. Mark Twain:

    Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture they do not understand, but the passages that bother me are those I do understand.

  2. Bryanna Reid:

    It's ok to understand other people. But it's not enough. Advertence is necessary too. Because it's easy to understand abstract person if you're not a victim but outside observer. Imagine you say to friend who needs your help: «I understand the man who stole from you because he was starved». Or that: «I understand that scumbag who raped you because his wife ran out on him and he wanted to blow off steam». Only most hard-hearted person can say that.

  3. Markus Hilgert:

    We're trying to develop methods to uncover, to discover, to clear up this dark field of crime, of organized crime, to understand the networks, to understand how people interact, to understand how much money is made, to understand how the objects come from Iraq and Syria to Germany.

  4. Drell Szyfer:

    I’ve run brands before, but I've never started anything myself, i don’t understand what that means. I don’t understand what that took. I don’t understand that sacrifice. We take a risk in what we do, but it’s nowhere near the risk Laura took 17 years ago when she started it all.

  5. Dustin Hoffman:

    There's a rebirth that goes on with us continuously as human beings. I don't understand, personally, how you can be bored. I can understand how you can be depressed, but I just don't understand boredom.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for understand

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    reading carefully with intent to remember
    • A. temptation
    • B. accessory
    • C. endeavor
    • D. perusal

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