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See more synonyms for comprehend on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object)
  1. to understand the nature or meaning of; grasp with the mind; perceive: He did not comprehend the significance of the ambassador's remark.
  2. to take in or embrace; include; comprise: The course will comprehend all facets of Japanese culture.
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Origin of comprehend

1350–1400; Middle English comprehenden < Latin comprehendere, equivalent to com- com- + prehendere to grasp; see prehensile
Related formscom·pre·hend·er, nouncom·pre·hend·ing·ly, adverbnon·com·pre·hend·ing, adjectivenon·com·pre·hend·ing·ly, adverbpre·com·pre·hend, verb (used with object)self-com·pre·hend·ing, adjectiveun·com·pre·hend·ed, adjectiveun·com·pre·hend·ing, adjectiveun·com·pre·hend·ing·ly, adverbwell-com·pre·hend·ed, adjective
Can be confusedapprehend comprehend

Synonyms for comprehend

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1. See know1. 2. See include.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for comprehend

envision, assimilate, appreciate, fathom, grasp, discern, embody, embrace, tumble, apprehend, conceive, dig, perceive, catch, see, read, know, have, savvy, envisage

Examples from the Web for comprehend

Contemporary Examples of comprehend

Historical Examples of comprehend

  • She did not seem to hear at first, nor to comprehend when she went back over his words.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • But her new theory of acceptance did not comprehend everything.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • But we must not expect with our finite mind to comprehend the infinite God.

  • She did not comprehend that Martin definitely did not want it changed.


    Mr. and Mrs. Haldeman-Julius

  • Any thing like a general argument Mr. Hardcastle could not comprehend.

British Dictionary definitions for comprehend


  1. to perceive or understand
  2. (tr) to comprise or embrace; include
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Word Origin for comprehend

C14: from Latin comprehendere, from prehendere to seize
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for comprehend


mid-14c., "to understand," from Latin comprehendere "to take together, to unite; include; seize" (of catching fire or the arrest of criminals); also "to comprehend, perceive" (to seize or take in the mind), from com- "completely" (see com-) + prehendere "to catch hold of, seize" (see prehensile). Related: Comprehended; comprehending.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper