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

luck out

to be very lucky

Word of the Day

Think long and hard; the language of decisions

by Liz Walter,
January 28, 2015
One of the best ways (perhaps the best way) to improve your English is to learn how words go together in phrases, idioms, or other patterns such as verb/noun or adjective/noun pairs (often called ‘collocations’). This blog looks at some useful phrases and collocations connected with the subject of decisions, something we

Read More 

micro pig noun

January 26, 2015
an extremely small pig, bred to be a pet Micro pigs have become popular pets recently, with famous owners including Victoria Beckham, Paris Hilton and Olympic diver, Tom Daley.

Read More