understand
Pronunciation
  • (RP) enPR: ŭn(′)dər-stănd', IPA: /(ˌ)ʌndəˈstænd/,
  • (America) enPR: ŭn′dər-stănd', IPA: /ˌʌndɚˈstænd/, [ˌʌɾ̃ɚˈstænd], [ˌʌɾ̃ɚˈsteə̯nd]
  • (Ireland) IPA: /ˌɞndəɹˈstand/
Verb

understand (understands, present participle understanding; past and past participle understood)

  1. (transitive) To grasp a concept fully and thoroughly, especially (of words, statements, art, etc.) to be aware of the meaning of and (of people) to be aware of the intent of.
    • 1892, Walter Besant, “Prologue: Who is Edmund Gray?”, in The Ivory Gate: A Novel, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, […], OCLC 16832619 ↗:
      Thus, when he drew up instructions in lawyer language, he expressed the important words by an initial, a medial, or a final consonant, and made scratches for all the words between; his clerks, however, understood him very well.
    • 1991, Stephen Fry, The Liar, p. 20:
      ‘I came back here, had a wank and finished that book.’
      The Naked Lunch?
      ‘Yeah.’
      ‘What did you reckon?’
      Crap.’
      ‘You're just saying that because you didn't understand it,’ said Adrian.
      ‘I'm just saying that because I did understand it,’ said Tom. ‘Any road up, we'd better start making some toast.’
    I'm sorry. I don't understand.
    Please try to understand. It's not you, it's me.
  2. To believe, to think one grasps sufficiently despite potentially incomplete knowledge.
    I understand that you have a package for me?
    In the imperative mood, the word “you” is usually understood.
  3. (humorous, rare, obsolete, except in, circus, acrobatics) To stand underneath, to support.
Synonyms Antonyms Translations Translations Translations


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