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English definition of “understand”

understand

verb uk   /ˌʌn.dəˈstænd/ us    /-dɚ-/ (understood, understood)

understand verb (KNOW)

A1 [I or T] to know the meaning of something that someone says: She explained the whole idea again, but I still didn't understand. Is there anyone here who understands Arabic? I think he was phoning from a pub - it was so noisy I couldn't understand (= recognize) a word he said. A2 [I or T] to know why or how something happens or works: [+ question word] We still don't fully understand how the brain works. B1 [I or T] to know how someone feels or why someone behaves in a particular way: My wife doesn't understand me. Sometimes I don't understand James. [+ question word] You don't understand what it's like/how it feels to have to beg on the streets. understand sb to mean sth to think, especially wrongly, that someone means a particular thing: When he said three o'clock, I understood him to mean in the afternoon. understand one another/each other When two people understand one another, they both know what the other means and wants and they have an agreement: Both sides must try to understand one another, to recognize each other's rights and beliefs.

understand verb (REALIZE)

C1 [T] formal to know or realize something because you have been told it: [+ (that)] I understand (that) you are interested in borrowing some money from us. [+ that] The Director had given her to understand (= told her) that she would be promoted. [+ obj + to infinitive ] A secret buyer is understood to have paid £1 million for the three pictures (= there is unofficial news that this has happened). [I or T] formal used when making certain that someone knows what you mean and will do as you want: I don't want you to see that boy again. Understand?/Do you understand?/Is that understood? it is understood formal used to refer to something such as a rule that everyone knows and accepts: In the library it is understood that loud talking is not permissible.
(Definition of understand from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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