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[kom-pri-hend] /ˌkɒm prɪˈhɛnd/
verb (used with object)
to understand the nature or meaning of; grasp with the mind; perceive:
He did not comprehend the significance of the ambassador's remark.
to take in or embrace; include; comprise:
The course will comprehend all facets of Japanese culture.
Origin of comprehend
1350-1400; Middle English comprehenden < Latin comprehendere, equivalent to com- com- + prehendere to grasp; see prehensile
Related forms
comprehender, noun
comprehendingly, adverb
noncomprehending, adjective
noncomprehendingly, adverb
precomprehend, verb (used with object)
self-comprehending, adjective
uncomprehended, adjective
uncomprehending, adjective
uncomprehendingly, adverb
well-comprehended, adjective
Can be confused
apprehend, comprehend.
1. See know1 . 2. See include. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for uncomprehendingly
Historical Examples
  • Joe looked at his chum for a moment, uncomprehendingly, and then a smile came over his face.

  • For a moment she looked at him uncomprehendingly, and then her eyes shifted to the gelding.

    Ride Proud, Rebel! Andre Alice Norton
  • It was opened by a houseman who stared at them uncomprehendingly.

    Subversive Dallas McCord Reynolds
  • Dimly and uncomprehendingly she heard Emily trying to thank their visitor.

    Thankful's Inheritance Joseph C. Lincoln
  • He stared at her uncomprehendingly for an instant, as if he found her ignorance hard to understand.

    Red Nails Robert E. Howard
  • He looked at her uncomprehendingly, seemingly failing to recognize her.

  • The fat debauchee stared at him uncomprehendingly for a few moments.

    The Elephant God Gordon Casserly
  • He stared about him unmeaningly and uncomprehendingly for the moment.

    Secret Service Cyrus Townsend Brady
  • He stared at it uncomprehendingly and then a cold sweat stood on his wrinkled brow.

    The Song of the Wolf Frank Mayer
  • The grooms standing about, cap in hand, grinned at her uncomprehendingly.

    The Song of Songs Hermann Sudermann
British Dictionary definitions for uncomprehendingly


to perceive or understand
(transitive) to comprise or embrace; include
Word Origin
C14: from Latin comprehendere, from prehendere to seize
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for uncomprehendingly



mid-14c., "to understand," from Latin comprehendere "to take together, to unite; include; seize" (of catching fire or the arrest of criminals); also "to comprehend, perceive" (to seize or take in the mind), from com- "completely" (see com-) + prehendere "to catch hold of, seize" (see prehensile). Related: Comprehended; comprehending.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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