failure to understand correctly; mistake as to meaning or intent.
a disagreement or quarrel.

Nearby words

  1. mistrustfully,
  2. mistryst,
  3. misty,
  4. misty-eyed,
  5. misunderstand,
  6. misunderstood,
  7. misusage,
  8. misuse,
  9. misuser,
  10. misventure

Origin of misunderstanding

late Middle English word dating back to 1400–50; see origin at mis-1, understanding

Related formsmis·un·der·stand·ing·ly, adverb



verb (used with object), mis·un·der·stood, mis·un·der·stand·ing.

to take (words, statements, etc.) in a wrong sense; understand wrongly.
to fail to understand or interpret rightly the words or behavior of.

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

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for misunderstanding

British Dictionary definitions for misunderstanding



a failure to understand properly
a disagreement


verb -stands, -standing or -stood

to fail to understand properly
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 misunderstanding
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper