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From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishldoce_755_zunderstandun‧der‧stand /ˌʌndəˈstænd $ -ər-/ ●●● S1 W1 verb (past tense and past participle understood /-ˈstʊd/) 🔊 🔊 1 meaning [intransitive, transitive]UNDERSTAND to know the meaning of what someone is telling you, or the language that they speakmisunderstood 🔊 She doesn’t understand English. 🔊 I’m sorry, I don’t understand. Can you explain that again? 🔊 The woman had a strong accent, and I couldn’t understand what she was saying.make yourself understood (=make what you say clear to other people, especially when speaking a foreign language) 🔊 I’m not very good at German, but I can make myself understood.2 fact/idea [intransitive, transitive]UNDERSTAND to know or realize how a fact, process, situation etc works, especially through learning or experience 🔊 I don’t really understand the political situation in Egypt.understand how/why/where etc 🔊 You don’t need to understand how computers work to be able to use them. 🔊 How the drug works isn’t fully understood.understand (that) 🔊 I understand that this treatment may not work.3 person/feelings [intransitive, transitive]UNDERSTANDSYMPATHIZE to realize how someone feels and why they behave the way they do, and to be sympathetic 🔊 My parents just don’t understand me. 🔊 Just tell him how you feel – I’m sure he’ll understand.understand how/what etc 🔊 I understand how you feel, but I think you’re overreacting.(can) understand somebody doing something 🔊 I can understand her wanting to live alone and be independent.4 believe/think [transitive] to believe or think that something is true because you have heard it or read itunderstand (that) 🔊 ‘I understand that he was 62 when he died, ’ McLeish said.it is understood (that) 🔊 It is understood that the Queen approves of her nephew’s romance.be understood to be (doing) something 🔊 Dillons is understood to be reorganising the company’s management structure.GrammarIn more formal English, you say it is understood that when saying what people in general believe is true: It is understood that an agreement will be signed today.5 give somebody to understand (that)6 be understood (that)7 understand something to be/mean something8 do you understand?GRAMMAR: Using the progressiveUnderstand is not used in the progressive. You say: I understand what you’re saying. Don’t say: I’m understanding what you’re saying.THESAURUSunderstand to know the meaning of something, or the reasons for somethingI understand what you’re saying.Doctors are beginning to understand what causes the disease.see especially spoken to understand something, especially the truth about a situation or the reasons for somethingI can see why you don’t like him.Do you see what I mean?Oh, I see!get informal to understand a joke, what someone says, the reasons why something is true etcShe didn’t seem to get the joke.Do you get me?He explained the math homework twice, but I still don’t get it.I still don’t get why she left. comprehend formal to understand something, or understand why something is importantThe dream was easy to describe, but difficult to comprehend.They had failed to comprehend the significance of the problem.know what somebody means spoken to understand what someone is telling you, or what a situation is like, especially because you have some experience or knowledge about this‘It can be really hard to give up smoking.’ ‘I know exactly what you mean.’We now know what the scientists meant when they warned about global warming.follow to understand something such as an explanation or story as you hear it, read it etcThe plot is hard to follow.His instructions were easy to follow.to understand something difficult grasp to completely understand an idea or a fact, especially a complicated oneSome of his theories can be rather difficult for the ordinary reader to grasp.I don’t think Stuart really grasped the point I was making.fathom /ˈfæðəm/ formal to understand what something means or the reasons for something, after thinking carefully about itShe looked at him, puzzled, trying to fathom the reasons for his actions.make sense of something to understand something that is not easy to understand, especially by thinking about itPeople are still trying to make sense of the news.can’t make head nor tail of something spoken used when something seems impossible to understandI can’t make head nor tail of his plays, and I’m not sure that anyone else can either.→ See Verb table
Examples from the Corpus
understandShe spoke slowly and clearly so that everyone could understand.You can only apologize, and hope that she'll understand.Computer manuals should be written in a way that is easy to understand.How can I make you understand?I'm sure if you talk to your boss, he'll understand.I'm sure your teacher will understand.A person watching could understand and almost envy it.I'm sorry. I still don't understand. Can you say it slower?Unfortunately she doesn't understand English.Sondra doesn't understand football at all.You don't need to understand how a computer works to use it.Bateson now argued that the direct study of variation was the only way of trying to understand how evolution actually works.I completely understand how things are when money is tight.I understand how you feel, but I still think you should apologize to her.Don't worry. I understand perfectly.The witness said he understood that he was swearing to give true and correct information.Unlike many political appointees, she was determined to understand the most complex details of her job.Doctors still do not fully understand the process by which the disease is transmitted.I didn't understand the teacher's instructions.The second cost associated with producing fund accounts relates to the investment of time and skill needed to understand them.When he's old enough to understand, we'll tell him he's adopted.We're trying very hard to understand what she's going through.Ben asked a few questions to make sure he understood what to do.They understand what we say better than we understand them.Naturally June couldn't understand why it was that I went on cutting her.make yourself understoodDholuo was the language and I knew I was an encumbrance until I could make myself understood.Hardly a practicable solution when she didn't even know if she could make herself understood.Unless people make themselves understood and understand what others are saying, the process can not work.Ian was the best at making himself understood as he had been a Latin scholar.We talk to: Express ourselves and to make ourselves understood by others.I often have trouble making myself understood in Japanese.As we will soon see, the inability to make oneself understood properly was at the root of the crisis in Vicos.When Cardinal Spellman was presiding, he had such difficulty making himself understood that he had to have some one speak for him.understand how/why/where etcPart of understanding how this boundary layer looks involves under-standing what it is made of.Their owner says she's sickened, and can't understand why anybody would do such a thing.I never could understand why anybody would want to daily cut and hack on bodies or parts of bodies.But I didn't understand why he took the penalty.Then I understood why he was shattered.At this time I was at a loss to understand how it managed to hover for so long in the same place.In order to understand how this happens we need to understand two ideas that are central to cognition theory.Suddenly he understood why wars were fought and how it was with buddies willing to heave themselves on to bouncing hand grenades.understand how/what etcThey said they understood how busy I was.This allows everyone-not just leaders-to understand what direction they need to take.Even a passing reference is sufficient, if readers will understand what is meant.Once the horse understands what is required of him, he should enjoy his work and improve day by day.When Grandma understood what the man said about wanting to search me, she told me to empty my pockets.At least it would give them some idea, at least they would now understand how things were.Paul does not understand how this can be good.I didn't understand what was taking place within me.it is understood (that)But an obligation to obey the law as it is understood in political writings today is a mere primafacie obligation.There clubs closed at 1am and it is understood local police liaised with managers before Saturday.The Hamiltons' Cheshire home was searched, and it is understood that a computer was among items taken away for examination.Thus it is understood that cells are influenced by fields and not currents of electricity, as the effect is minimal.Initially Mr Bond gave his approval, but it is understood that sanction has subsequently been withdrawn.His first priority will be to find players as it is understood that several of last season's side want to leave.Creativity inevitably involves taking risks, and, in Great Groups, it is understood that the risk taker will sometimes stumble.St. Mary's are appealing against the decision but it is understood the housing trust are considering an alternative site.
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Verb table
Simple Form
I, you, we, theyunderstand
he, she, itunderstands
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I, you, he, she, it, we, theyunderstood
Present perfect
I, you, we, theyhave understood
he, she, ithas understood
Past perfect
I, you, he, she, it, we, theyhad understood
I, you, he, she, it, we, theywill understand
Future perfect
I, you, he, she, it, we, theywill have understood
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