understand

[uhn-der-stand]
verb (used with object), understood, understanding.
1.
to perceive the meaning of; grasp the idea of; comprehend: to understand Spanish; I didn't understand your question.
2.
to be thoroughly familiar with; apprehend clearly the character, nature, or subtleties of: to understand a trade.
3.
to assign a meaning to; interpret: He understood her suggestion as a complaint.
4.
to grasp the significance, implications, or importance of: He does not understand responsibility.
5.
to regard as firmly communicated; take as agreed or settled: I understand that you will repay this loan in 30 days.
6.
to learn or hear: I understand that you are going out of town.
7.
to accept as true; believe: I understand that you are trying to be truthful, but you are wrong.
8.
to construe in a particular way: You are to understand the phrase literally.
9.
to supply mentally (something that is not expressed).
verb (used without object), understood, understanding.
10.
to perceive what is meant; grasp the information conveyed: She told them about it in simple words, hoping they would understand.
11.
to accept tolerantly or sympathetically: If you can't do it, I'll understand.
12.
to have knowledge or background, as on a particular subject: He understands about boats.
13.
to have a systematic interpretation or rationale, as in a field or area of knowledge: He can repeat every rule in the book, but he just doesn't understand.

Origin:
before 900; Middle English understanden, understonden, Old English understondan; cognate with Dutch onderstaan. See under-, stand

preunderstand, verb, preunderstood, preunderstanding.


1. See know1.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
understand (ˌʌndəˈstænd)
 
vb , -stands, -standing, -stood
1.  (may take a clause as object) to know and comprehend the nature or meaning of: I understand you; I understand what you mean
2.  (may take a clause as object) to realize or grasp (something): he understands your position
3.  (tr; may take a clause as object) to assume, infer, or believe: I understand you are thinking of marrying
4.  (tr) to know how to translate or read: can you understand Spanish?
5.  (tr; may take a clause as object; often passive) to accept as a condition or proviso: it is understood that children must be kept quiet
6.  (tr) to be sympathetic to or compatible with: we understand each other
 
[Old English understandan; related to Old Frisian understonda, Middle High German understān step under; see under, stand]
 
under'standable
 
adj
 
under'standably
 
adv

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

understand
O.E. understandan "comprehend, grasp the idea of," probably lit. "stand in the midst of," from under + standan "to stand" (see stand). If this is the meaning, the under is not the usual word meaning "beneath," but from O.E. under, from PIE *nter- "between, among" (cf. Skt.
antar "among, between," L. inter "between, among," Gk. entera "intestines;" see inter-). But the exact notion is unclear. Perhaps the ult. sense is "be close to," cf. Gk. epistamai "I know how, I know," lit. "I stand upon." Similar formations are found in O.Fris. (understonda), M.Dan. (understande), while other Gmc. languages use compounds meaning "stand before" (cf. Ger. verstehen, represented in O.E. by forstanden ). For this concept, most I.E. languages use fig. extensions of compounds that lit. mean "put together," or "separate," or "take, grasp."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

understand

see give to understand.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
Blind people can easily comprehend speech that is sped up far beyond the
  maximum rate that sighted people can understand.
In terms of humans being a credit to the planet, it is important to understand
  that there is nothing natural about a garden.
There, with residents running their dogs along the dunes, it's easy to
  understand how such natural opulence fuels inspiration.
It may take some time for folks to understand the environmental and medical
  repercussions of wood burning smoke.
Idioms & Phrases
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