characterized by understanding; prompted by, based on, or demonstrating comprehension, intelligence, discernment, empathy, or the like: an understanding attitude.

Origin of understanding

before 1050; Middle English understandynge, late Old English understandincge (noun). See understand, -ing1, -ing2
Related formsun·der·stand·ing·ly, adverbnon·un·der·stand·ing, adjective, nounnon·un·der·stand·ing·ly, adverbself-un·der·stand·ing, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for understandings

Contemporary Examples of understandings

Historical Examples of understandings

  • We must learn to use, not our eyes and our ears only, but our understandings—our thinkers.

  • And one thing which no one will deny is, that there are great differences in the understandings of men.

  • It is clear that there are great differences in the understandings of men.

  • You and my aunt and he have the most evident of understandings.

    Kent Knowles: Quahaug

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • Then he had aftertastes of understandings tolerably independent of words.

    The Tragic Muse

    Henry James

British Dictionary definitions for understandings



the ability to learn, judge, make decisions, etc; intelligence or sense
personal opinion or interpretation of a subjectmy understanding of your predicament
a mutual agreement or compact, esp an informal or private one
mainly British an unofficial engagement to be married
philosophy archaic the mind, esp the faculty of reason
on the understanding that with the condition that; providing


sympathetic, tolerant, or wise towards people
possessing judgment and intelligence
Derived Formsunderstandingly, adverb
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 understandings



Old English understandincge "comprehension," from understand (q.v.). Meaning "mutual agreement" is attested from 1803.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper