understand Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo

Meaning of “understand” in the English Dictionary

"understand" in British English

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understandverb

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 ​wholeidea again, but I still didn't understand. Is there anyone here who understands ​Arabic? I ​think he was ​calling from a ​club - it was so ​noisy, I couldn't understand 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 ​brainworks.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, ​especiallywrongly, that someone ​means a ​particular thing: When he said three o'clock, I understood him to ​mean in the ​afternoon.understand each other/one another When two ​people understand one another, they both ​know what the other ​means and ​wants and they have an ​agreement: I ​wanted to make ​sure that we ​want the same things, that we really understand each other.

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  • 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 ​secretbuyer is understood to have ​paid $1 million for the three ​pictures (= there is ​unofficialnews 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 thatpeople should ​talkquietly.

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(Definition of understand from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"understand" in American English

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understandverb

 us   /ˌʌn·dərˈstænd/ (past tense and past participle understood  /ˌʌn·dərˈstʊd/ )
  • understand verb (KNOW)

to ​know the ​meaning of something, or to ​know how a ​personfeels and why the ​personbehaves in a ​particular way: [+ question word] I don’t understand what he ​means. [T] Is there anyone here who understands ​English? [T] It was so ​noisy I couldn’t understand (= ​recognize) a word he was saying. [I] If you ​choose not to come, I’ll understand. [T] He ​claimed that no one ​ever understood him (= had any ​sympathy for him or ​knew what he was ​feeling). [+ question word] I understand how she ​feels about the ​loss of her ​dog. [T] It is understood that (= Everyone ​knows and ​accepts that) you don’t ​bringfood or ​drinks into the ​library.
  • understand verb (BELIEVE)

[T] to ​believe something is ​true because you have been told something that ​causes you to ​think it: [+ (that) clause] I understand (that) the show will go on, but with a different ​cast. I understood him to say (= I ​believed that he said) that the ​trip had been ​canceled.
(Definition of understand from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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“understand” in British English

“understand” in American English

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