Definition of comprehend in English:



  • 1[often with negative] Grasp mentally; understand.

    ‘he couldn't comprehend her reasons for marrying Lovat’
    [with clause] ‘I simply couldn't comprehend what had happened’
    • ‘All cultures have patterns of perceiving, comprehending, explaining, assessing, and treating the symptoms of sickness.’
    • ‘This latter task is to comprehend and interpret the substantive topic under study.’
    • ‘From a Christian perspective the data and results can be comprehended by reason.’
    • ‘There's something else afoot, something I will never understand or comprehend.’
    • ‘Thirdly, he may be conscious and able to comprehend what he is doing but due to his mental condition be unaware that it is wrong.’
    • ‘For these reasons, it was hard for many to comprehend that such an armistice could ever take place.’
    • ‘I understood and comprehended what would take most children years to take in and be able to use.’
    • ‘It is something that I, as an immigrant to this country, could never entirely comprehend.’
    • ‘Much of the detail is difficult to comprehend for those who have not followed the story.’
    • ‘I simply do not comprehend how a herring in the North Sea can be at risk from a bovine disease.’
    • ‘He simply stared at her, not comprehending, and then realized this was what he got for making fun of her.’
    • ‘These transactions, for reasons I did not then comprehend, always seemed to occur in the dead of night.’
    • ‘My friends and neighbours know I'm a cop, but they simply cannot comprehend what we're dealing with.’
    • ‘Only when we understand that will we be able to help them comprehend why it disturbs us so much.’
    • ‘This was the first in three years which is the reason why we cannot comprehend people's objection.’
    • ‘She understood and comprehended everything the instant it was exposed to her.’
    • ‘It was set up, for reasons I could not begin to comprehend, as a public-versus-private spat.’
    • ‘Still, so much time is spent on trying to rock the boat, in trying to understand and comprehend.’
    • ‘It is very important to ensure that the young person understands the role of the assessing worker, and comprehends the interpreter.’
    • ‘She wants to understand, she wants to comprehend, but she doesn't want to forgive.’
    understand, grasp, take in, see, apprehend, follow, make sense of, fathom, make out, puzzle out, get to the bottom of, penetrate
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  • 2formal Include, comprise, or encompass.

    ‘a divine order comprehending all men’
    comprise, include, take in, encompass, embrace, involve, contain
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Middle English: from Old French comprehender, or Latin comprehendere, from com- together + prehendere grasp.