Meaning of “understand” - Learner’s Dictionary


verb [ I, T ] uk us /ˌʌndəˈstænd/ (past tense and past participle understood)

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.

A2 to know why or how something happens or works:

[ + question word ] We still don't fully understand how the brain works.

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.
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.
make yourself understood

to say something to someone in a way that they understand:

I had a little difficulty making myself understood.

(Definition of “understand” from the Cambridge Learner’s Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)