Definition of understanding in English:

understanding

noun

  • 1The ability to understand something; comprehension.

    ‘foreign visitors with little understanding of English’
    • ‘Our understanding of and ability to control quantum systems have never been so good.’
    • ‘It is beyond any understanding how he could have been caught up in all of this.’
    • ‘A-levels provided a ready platform of knowledge and understanding that undergraduates built on during their three years at university.’
    • ‘She basked in the glow of it, without understanding or comprehension, as a plant receives sunlight.’
    • ‘Her idea of achievement is a clean house and an empty ironing basket; the demands of my career are quite beyond her understanding.’
    • ‘Some things, however, seemed destined to remain beyond my understanding.’
    • ‘Only someone with no real knowledge or understanding of the history of ideas could take such a fad seriously.’
    • ‘Her levels of engagement, understanding and ability to follow the differentiated curriculum will have to be monitored.’
    • ‘My job here is to facilitate your understanding and ability.’
    • ‘From their point of view, understanding the social and cultural impact is far better and far more valuable.’
    • ‘It may not be until June or July of next year until a more comprehensive understanding of the problem is reached.’
    • ‘Edwards clearly relying on someone else's brief, rather than his own knowledge or understanding of the issues.’
    • ‘In the intervening period, I invested a great deal of energy in the search for explanations and understanding.’
    • ‘He constantly strives to increase his abilities and his understanding of the obstacles around him.’
    • ‘Modern understandings of astrophysics allow three possible fates for such a collapsing star.’
    • ‘It seems that our people's poet had an intimate knowledge and understanding of human psychology.’
    • ‘They and others, such as the lawyers in the case, were edging forward in trying to improve their understanding and abilities in these difficult matters.’
    • ‘The compulsion that has driven the directors of these movies is beyond my understanding.’
    • ‘The sum is so beyond the realms of understanding that he can't grasp it.’
    • ‘We obtain thereby a more comprehensive understanding and appreciation of every field.’
    comprehension, apprehension, grasp, grip, mastery, perception, discernment, appreciation, interpretation, cognizance, ken, conception, digestion, assimilation, absorption
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    1. 1.1 The power of abstract thought; intellect.
      ‘a child of sufficient intelligence and understanding’
      • ‘As the authors remind us, intellectual understanding doesn't necessarily lead to change.’
      • ‘Reading with their parents and other caregivers can expand children's imagination, knowledge and understanding.’
      • ‘We engaged our intellects to deepen our understanding of the natural world and human society in all of its manifestations.’
      • ‘Wisdom and understanding have always been powerful and effective weapons against a poor belief/approach.’
      • ‘The essay is an examination of the nature of the human mind and its powers of understanding.’
      • ‘I am aware, and hope I have also made it clear to the reader, that merely intellectual understanding is not sufficient.’
      • ‘Dogs are not noted for their understanding of abstract concepts, and so do not manifest altruism or self-sacrifice in any meaningful sense.’
      • ‘The law is not concerned with the brain but with the mind, in the sense that mind is ordinarily used, the mental faculties of reason, memory and understanding.’
      • ‘He claims both superior knowledge and superior understanding.’
      • ‘Without perfect knowledge and perfect understanding, we cannot expect to make perfect decisions.’
      intellect, intelligence, mind, brainpower, capability, insight, judgement, sense, reason, reasoning
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    2. 1.2 An individual's perception or judgment of a situation.
      ‘my understanding was that he would try to find a new supplier’
      • ‘My understanding of the situation a few years ago was that there were two main groups.’
      • ‘My understanding of the situation regarding the region was also influenced by his work.’
      • ‘The region is treated as part of the country in the memorandum, according to regional diplomats' understanding of the situation.’
      • ‘That is, we filter and interpret information through our own experience and understandings.’
      • ‘It is clear that what is acceptable to be bared in society varies according to societal or individual understanding.’
      • ‘Perhaps, but then every individual's understanding of the world is unique.’
      • ‘My understanding is that this situation can only be changed by way of a legal challenge.’
      • ‘The reader comes to views and opinions and understandings that the narrator does not share.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, the reader's understanding of the situation remains impoverished.’
      • ‘This has been an unfortunately brief, but crucial attempt at increasing our understanding of the situation we find ourselves in.’
      • ‘I think we have divergent understandings of multiculturalism.’
      • ‘They had been confident enough in their understanding of the situation to ignore the caution in the manual.’
      • ‘They suffer from varying degrees of autism, which impairs an individual's understanding of everyday life.’
      • ‘Our understanding of normal sensory perception is based upon observations that are reproducible.’
      • ‘Some sessions with a family therapist would surely improve your understanding of the situation.’
      • ‘His understanding of the situation was that a fracas had spilled over from the field of play to where substitutes were sitting and they got involved.’
      • ‘It is my understanding that this individual is cooperating and providing information to the investigators.’
      • ‘To be able to get so personal over a subject which is so controversial shows a complete lack of understanding of the situation from our point of view.’
      • ‘The first understandings of celestial mechanics were not dependent on vast stretches of time.’
      • ‘Yet for people to act responsibly, they must first have a certain level of understanding of the situation which faces them.’
      belief, perception, view, notion, idea, conclusion, conviction, feeling, opinion, intuition, impression, assumption, supposition, postulation, way of thinking, point of view
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    3. 1.3 Sympathetic awareness or tolerance.
      ‘a problem that needs to be handled with understanding’
      • ‘Tolerance and understanding come from education.’
      • ‘What shocks you more is your growing lack of patience, of understanding, of comprehension.’
      • ‘Every story he tells in some way teaches tolerance and understanding.’
      • ‘You could admit your insecurities and ask for his tolerance and understanding as you try to work them out.’
      • ‘People like them would make all the difference in building bridges of tolerance and understanding, he said.’
      • ‘The steps towards tolerance and understanding between the communities will be slow and arduous.’
      • ‘All I would like is a little tolerance and understanding.’
      • ‘The support and understanding parents provide can help kids accept their most frightening emotions.’
      • ‘The best tool for raising awareness and understanding is teaching.’
      • ‘He thanked the people of the town for their remarkable tolerance and understanding.’
      • ‘In spite of this, they constantly discuss ways to increase awareness and understanding of their problems.’
      • ‘I am incensed at the lack of tolerance and understanding that still exists in some quarters.’
      • ‘This training includes awareness and understanding of post traumatic stress.’
      • ‘Now, as was the case back then, a little tolerance and understanding is needed.’
      • ‘It would promote tolerance and understanding in the community.’
      • ‘I would like to briefly preach the merits of tolerance and understanding.’
      • ‘Tolerance and understanding develops between Ruth and other members of the household.’
      • ‘They have shown no compassion, no understanding, no tolerance, and especially, no patience.’
      • ‘I think it is a totally different place and quite honestly a much better place in terms of tolerance and understanding.’
      • ‘Public awareness and understanding will go a long way in making the life of such a person more meaningful and relaxed.’
      compassion, sympathy, pity, empathy, feeling, concern, considerateness, consideration, tenderness, tender-heartedness, kindness, kind-heartedness, sensitivity, insight, fellow feeling, brotherly love, neighbourliness, decency, humanity, humanitarianism, humaneness, charity, goodwill, mercy, mercifulness, gentleness, tolerance, lenience, leniency, warmth, warm-heartedness, affection, love
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    4. 1.4 An informal or unspoken agreement or arrangement.
      ‘he and I have an understanding’
      ‘he had only been allowed to come on the understanding that he would be on his best behavior’
      • ‘The challenge is to create shared - but not necessarily common - understandings.’
      • ‘They just do not come close to telling the whole story, since informal understandings and norms are crucial in determining outcomes.’
      • ‘They're going to come out of this with a coherent set of guidelines and understandings.’
      • ‘This agreement supersedes any prior agreements or understandings between the parties as to this subject matter.’
      • ‘Once these understandings are in place, then parent and child can rely on them.’
      • ‘Silence, or understandings based on silence, does not commitments make.’
      • ‘It is the complex network of friends who look out for each other and run council affairs on the basis of shared understandings.’
      • ‘All was talk except for what mattered most, which were unspoken understandings.’
      • ‘All the laws and international understandings created as a result of two world wars will be destroyed.’
      • ‘How do we establish mutual agreements or common understandings while respecting diversity?’
      • ‘Her statement became the basis for understandings between the two countries.’
      • ‘Further, consent is subject to the cultural rules and understandings of that community.’
      • ‘But it is tied into international agreements, conventions, and understandings.’
      • ‘Some cultures still have these understandings, where the men and women know their roles in a relationship.’
      • ‘Will we start to see signs that understandings have been reached between the two operators?’
      • ‘Still we manage to spend whole lifetimes together based on such understandings.’
      agreement, gentleman's agreement, arrangement, deal, bargain, settlement, pledge, promise, pact, compact, contract, concord, treaty, covenant, bond
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adjective

  • 1Sympathetically aware of other people's feelings; tolerant and forgiving.

    ‘people expect their doctor to be understanding’
    • ‘But, in general, people are very understanding and quite patient.’
    • ‘Mr Burn said the smokers he approached were very understanding when he told them that the smoking area might be closed down.’
    • ‘The look in her eyes was one of sympathy but also understanding.’
    • ‘On top of this he said that if you fell on hard times, you would find a more human and understanding approach in the credit union, than the banks.’
    • ‘An assuring hand was placed on her arm, and she looked up to meet his sympathetic, understanding gaze.’
    • ‘But being the tolerant, understanding guy that I am, I wanted to know more.’
    • ‘My search was met with an understanding exasperation, as though he'd hoped that I would not ask.’
    • ‘She said her family was understanding and supportive, and all her five sisters had in-dependent personalities.’
    • ‘If things have happened in your past that have damaged your trust, you may find you need the understanding support of your partner to rebuild your faith in others.’
    • ‘I need a sympathetic, understanding elder right now, one who can help me out in my dilemma.’
    • ‘When your partner is a comic book artist you have to be very understanding and tolerant of their life style, which seems to mean having little life besides comics.’
    • ‘I became a totally different person, more knowledgeable, more tolerant, more understanding.’
    • ‘She turned to him, amazed at how understanding and patient he could be.’
    • ‘However, she did appreciate him for being such a considerate and understanding partner.’
    • ‘He moved to a new town, Thames, where he found a supportive psychologist and an understanding landlord.’
    • ‘And still he encouraged her on, with sympathetic phrases and understanding nods.’
    • ‘I still do, still think I should have been more alert, more aware, more understanding of what my boy was going through.’
    • ‘A kind and understanding approach to any problem you may have, will be offered.’
    • ‘Luckily they are all very understanding and supportive.’
    • ‘The agent behind the desk was very understanding and sympathetic.’
    compassionate, sympathetic, sensitive, considerate, tender, kind, kindly, kind-hearted, thoughtful, tolerant, patient, forbearing, lenient, merciful, forgiving, humane, human, good-natured, approachable, supportive, reassuring
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  • 2archaic Having insight or good judgment.

    • ‘If you lack understanding and meditative insight, this test could become an obstacle.’

Pronunciation

understanding

/ˌəndərˈstandiNG//ˌəndərˈstændɪŋ/