understand Definition in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo
Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

Definition of “understand” - English Dictionary

"understand" in American English

See all translations

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)







"understand" in British English

See all translations

understandverb

uk   /ˌʌn.dəˈstænd/  us   /ˌʌn.dɚˈstænd/ (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.

expend iconexpend iconMore examples

  • 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.

expend iconexpend iconMore examples

(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
Just who is driving this thing?
Just who is driving this thing?
by ,
May 03, 2016
by Colin McIntosh Do you remember Herbie the Love Bug? Herbie was a 1963 Volkswagen Beetle car in a string of Walt Disney movies. In typical Disney anthropomorphic style, Herbie goes his own way, falls in love, cries, plays jokes, and generally has a mind of his own. While the new driverless cars, like those being

Read More 

Word of the Day

galaxy

one of the independent groups of stars in the universe

Word of the Day

trigger warning noun
trigger warning noun
May 02, 2016
a warning that a subject may trigger unpleasant emotions or memories This is not, I should stress, an argument that trigger warnings should become commonplace on campus.

Read More