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verb (used with object), mis·un·der·stood, mis·un·der·stand·ing.
  1. to take (words, statements, etc.) in a wrong sense; understand wrongly.
  2. to fail to understand or interpret rightly the words or behavior of.
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Origin of misunderstand

First recorded in 1150–1200, misunderstand is from the Middle English word misunderstanden. See mis-1, understand
Related formsmis·un·der·stand·er, noun


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for misunderstand


verb -stands, -standing or -stood
  1. to fail to understand properly
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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 misunderstand


c.1200; see mis- (1) + understand. Related: Misunderstood; misunderstanding.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper