Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

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)
What is the pronunciation of understand?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “understand” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

hello stranger

said to a person that you know but have not seen for a long time

Word of the Day

Come on – you can do it! Phrasal verbs with ‘come’.

by Liz Walter​,
November 19, 2014
As part of an occasional series on the tricky subject of phrasal verbs, this blog looks at ones formed with the verb ‘come’. If you are reading this blog, I’m sure you already know come from, as it is one of the first things you learn in class: I come from Scotland/Spain.

Read More 

silver splicer noun

November 17, 2014
informal a person who marries in later life Newly retired and now newlywed – rise of the ‘silver splicers’ Reaching pension age becomes a trigger to tie the knot as baby-boomers begin to redefine retirement

Read More