Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “understand”

See all translations

understand

verb [I, T]
 
 
/ˌʌndəˈstænd/ ( past tense and past participle understood)
KNOW MEANING A1 to know the meaning of something that someone says: I don't understand half of what he says. She didn't understand so I explained it again. I understand written French but I don't speak it very well.Understanding and comprehending
KNOW WHY/HOW A2 to know why or how something happens or works: [+ question word] We still don't fully understand how the brain works.Understanding and comprehending
KNOW FEELINGS B1 to know how someone feels or why they behave in a particular way: I don't understand James sometimes. [+ question word] I understand why she's so angry.Understanding and comprehendingEmpathy and sensitivitySympathy and compassion
I/we understand (that)... formal used to say that you believe something is true because someone has told you it is: I understand that the school is due to close next year.Believing
make yourself understood to say something to someone in a way that they understand: I had a little difficulty making myself understood.Understanding and comprehending
(Definition of understand from the Cambridge Learners Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

More Learner's Dictionary definitions for “understand”

Definitions of “understand” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

make believe

believing or imagining things that appear to be attractive or exciting, but are not real

Word of the Day

Lies, lies, lies!

by Kate Woodford,
February 25, 2015
​​​ According to sociologists (=people who study the relationships between people living in groups), we are good at lying. As a species, we have developed a remarkable ability to deceive each other (= persuade each other that something false is true). Being able to say things that are not true can help with

Read More 

showrooming noun

February 23, 2015
the activity of examining a product in a physical store and then making the purchase with an online retailer Amazon’s new smartphone is specifically designed to make showrooming fast and easy.

Read More