• synonyms


[mis-uhn-der-stoo d]
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  1. improperly understood or interpreted.
  2. not appreciated.
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Origin of misunderstood

First recorded in 1585–95; mis-1 + understood
Related formshalf-mis·un·der·stood, adjectiveun·mis·un·der·stood, adjective


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

Synonyms for misunderstand

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

Related Words for misunderstood

wrong, mistaken, misconceived

Examples from the Web for misunderstood

Contemporary Examples of misunderstood

Historical Examples of misunderstood

  • Hester did not like the remark, and he fancied from her look she had misunderstood him.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • I make this statement now in order not to be misunderstood when later I may say that God must be this or that.

  • "You misunderstood me, Miss Gunn," said the doctor, now himself again.

  • She misunderstood: he laughed, but his nervousness was genuine.

    Alice Adams

    Booth Tarkington

  • Do you know what it is to be misunderstood—to be despised without deserving it?'

    Wilfrid Cumbermede

    George MacDonald

British Dictionary definitions for misunderstood


  1. not properly or sympathetically understooda misunderstood work of art; a misunderstood adolescent
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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 misunderstood


1590s, past participle adjective from misunderstand.

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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper