Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To become aware of the nature and significance of; know or comprehend.
  • intransitive verb To become aware of the intended meaning of (a person or remark, for example).
  • intransitive verb To know and be tolerant or sympathetic toward.
  • intransitive verb To know thoroughly by close contact or long experience with.
  • intransitive verb To learn indirectly or infer, as from hearsay.
  • intransitive verb To assume to be or accept as agreed.
  • intransitive verb To supply or add (words or a meaning, for example) mentally.
  • intransitive verb To have understanding, knowledge, or comprehension.
  • intransitive verb To have sympathy or tolerance.
  • intransitive verb To learn something indirectly or secondhand; gather.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To receive from a word or collocation of words or from a sign the idea it is intended to convey: with the thing said, the person speaking, or the language as the direct object of the verb.
  • To interpret the signification of; seize the idea of; comprehend as resulting from a thought, principle, or rule; explain.
  • To receive information about; learn by paying heed to what is said and done; consider.
  • To know in substance, as a fact or saying; be acquainted with; recognize.
  • To take as meant or implied; imply; infer; assume; take for granted: chiefly in the past participle.
  • To recognize as implied or meant, although not expressed; supply mentally, as a word necessary to bring out the sense of an author: as, in the phrase ‘All are mortal,’ we must understand the word men, living beings, or the like.
  • To stand under.
  • To have the use of the intellectual faculties; be an intelligent and conscious being; have understanding; be wise.
  • To be informed by another; learn.
  • To give attention; listen.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To have the use of the intellectual faculties; to be an intelligent being.
  • intransitive verb To be informed; to have or receive knowledge.
  • transitive verb To have just and adequate ideas of; to apprehended the meaning or intention of; to have knowledge of; to comprehend; to know
  • transitive verb To be apprised, or have information, of; to learn; to be informed of; to hear.
  • transitive verb To recognize or hold as being or signifying; to suppose to mean; to interpret; to explain.
  • transitive verb To mean without expressing; to imply tacitly; to take for granted; to assume.
  • transitive verb Jocose & R. To stand under; to support.
  • transitive verb to cause one to know.
  • transitive verb to make one's meaning clear.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb transitive To be aware of the meaning of.
  • verb To believe, based on information.
  • verb To impute meaning, character etc. that is not explicitly stated.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb know and comprehend the nature or meaning of
  • verb be understanding of
  • verb perceive (an idea or situation) mentally
  • verb make sense of a language
  • verb believe to be the case

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English understanden, from Old English understandan : under-, under- + standan, to stand; see stā- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English understanden, from Old English understandan ("to understand"), from Proto-Germanic *under (“between”) + *standanan (“to stand”), equivalent to Old English under- ("between, inter-") + standan ("to stand"). Cognate with Eastern Frisian understunda ("to understand"), Old High German understantan ("to understand"), Middle Danish understande ("to understand"). Compare also Dutch onderstaan ("to undertake, presume"), German unterstehen ("to be subordinate"). More at inter-, stand.

Examples

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