understand */*/*/

UK [ˌʌndə(r)ˈstænd] / US [ˌʌndərˈstænd] verb [never progressive]
Word forms "understand":
present tense I/you/we/they understand he/she/it understands present participle understanding past tense understood UK [ˌʌndə(r)ˈstʊd] / US [ˌʌndərˈstʊd] past participle understood
Metaphor:
Understanding something is like seeing it. If it is easy to understand, it is easy to see. I see what you mean. I saw through him at once: I knew he was lying. They recognized the fact that they needed to improve. She has great insight and will know what to do. I could not foresee what would happen. He's very clear-sighted. There was a change in the public perception of education. The answer is very obvious. I'm unclear about what they did next. She had a clear understanding of what was involved. Their motives are transparent. How did you know? You must have read my mind. I can read him like a book. They turned a blind eye to what was happening there. Understanding something is like holding or touching it. She has a good grasp of Japanese. I need to get to grips with the subject. I'm still grappling with the basics. I couldn't put my finger on it, but there was definitely something wrong. You've certainly got your finger on the pulse. Such abstract concepts can be very slippery. It's quite a difficult idea to get hold of.  intelligence, knowledge, mind, opinion
1)
a) [intransitive/transitive] to know what someone or something means

If you don't understand, just put your hand up.

The instructions were difficult to understand.

I don't understand a word you're saying.

Luke nodded as if he understood perfectly.

understand what/where/whether etc:

I don't quite understand where you want me to put it.

b) to know what something spoken or written in a particular language means

I'm sorry, I don't understand French.

2) [intransitive/transitive] to know how or why something happens, or what effect or influence something has

Do they fully understand the implications of their decision?

understand how/why/what etc:

We are only beginning to understand how the brain functions.

understand (that):

Please try to understand that we want the best for you.

3) [intransitive/transitive] to know how someone feels or why someone does something, as a result of experience or by imagining what it must be like to be them

He says his wife doesn't understand him.

I understand your concern, but the operation is completely safe.

I can understand your reluctance to talk about what happened.

understand how/why/what:

Does she understand why he doesn't want to see her?

understand someone/someone's doing something:

I can understand him not inviting Joan (= understand why he does not invite her).

4) [transitive] formal to believe that something is true because you have heard or read it somewhere
understand (that):

We understand that a major announcement is to be made tomorrow.

be understood to do something:

Mr Lang is understood to favour more traditional teaching methods.

it is understood that:

It is understood that £2.5 million has been set aside to develop the scheme.

5) [transitive, usually passive] to recognize that a word or phrase is missing in a sentence and that you have to imagine that it is there

The object of the verb is understood with words such as "to smoke" and "to read".

(do you) understand?spoken used for emphasizing that someone should do what you are telling them

Don't ever try that again! Do you understand?

give someone to understand (that)formal to tell someone something, or to make them think that something is true

She's been asking to see you, or so I've been given to understand.

(is that) understood?spoken used for emphasizing, especially in a threatening way, that someone should do what you are telling them

No one is to leave before five. Is that understood?


English dictionary. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

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