- the power of abstract thought; logical power.
- Kantianism.the mental faculty resolving the sensory manifold into the transcendental unity of apperception.
Origin of understanding
verb (used with object), un·der·stood, un·der·stand·ing.
verb (used without object), un·der·stood, un·der·stand·ing.
Origin of understand
Synonyms for understand
Related Words for understandingsympathetic, generous, kindly, compassionate, perceptive, forgiving, considerate, empathetic, insight, perception, knowledge, intelligence, sense, awareness, realization, grasp, judgment, recognition, impression, interpretation
Examples from the Web for understanding
Contemporary Examples of understanding
Nothing made Groucho funnier than having this Margaret Dumont around not understanding the jokes.Patton Oswalt on Fighting Conservatives With Satire
January 6, 2015
Understanding my own dreams had a lot to do with getting me off the juice.The Story Behind Lee Marvin’s Liberty Valance Smile
January 3, 2015
As she discussed her understanding of the voting rights campaign and how she planned to recreate it, I grew more relieved.Dr. King Goes to Hollywood: The Flawed History of ‘Selma’
January 2, 2015
My understanding was that according to most Christian beliefs, being trans or gay was a sin, cut and dry.Dear Leelah, We Will Fight On For You: A Letter to a Dead Trans Teen
January 1, 2015
Now half-awake, we need all the help we can get in understanding our situation.American Democracy Under Threat for 250 Years
December 28, 2014
Historical Examples of understanding
Then you will understand, and understanding, you will admire his courage.Ancient Man
Hendrik Willem van Loon
Jasper Lanning and Bill Dozier exchanged glances of understanding.Way of the Lawless
I am willing to believe that the lack of understanding was my own fault, but a lack of understanding there was.
Between us and the understanding of that love bereavement is often a great obstacle.
In music he thought he did understand her, but was in truth far from understanding her.Weighed and Wanting
verb -stands, -standing or -stood
Word Origin for understand
Old English understandincge "comprehension," from understand (q.v.). Meaning "mutual agreement" is attested from 1803.
Old English understandan "comprehend, grasp the idea of," probably literally "stand in the midst of," from under + standan "to stand" (see stand). If this is the meaning, the under is not the usual word meaning "beneath," but from Old English under, from PIE *nter- "between, among" (cf. Sanskrit antar "among, between," Latin inter "between, among," Greek entera "intestines;" see inter-).
That is the suggestion in Barnhart, but other sources regard the "among, between, before, in the presence of" sense of Old English prefix and preposition under as other meanings of the same word. "Among" seems to be the sense in many Old English compounds that resemble understand, e.g. underniman "to receive," undersecan "to investigate," underginnan "to begin." It also seems to be the sense still in expressions such as under such circumstances.
Perhaps the ultimate sense is "be close to," cf. Greek epistamai "I know how, I know," literally "I stand upon." Similar formations are found in Old Frisian (understonda), Middle Danish (understande), while other Germanic languages use compounds meaning "stand before" (cf. German verstehen, represented in Old English by forstanden). For this concept, most Indo-European languages use figurative extensions of compounds that literally mean "put together," or "separate," or "take, grasp" (see comprehend). Old English oferstandan, Middle English overstonden, literally "over-stand" seem to have been used only in literal senses.
see give to understand.