understand

understand, comprehend, appreciate mean to have a clear idea or conception or full and exact knowledge of something. Understand and comprehend both imply an obtaining of a mental grasp of something and in much of their use are freely interchangeable
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"You begin to comprehend me, do you?" cried he ... . "Oh! Yes—I understand you perfectly"— Austen

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the artist, it seemed . . . had thoughts so subtle that the average man could comprehend them no more than a mongrel could understand the moon he bayed at— Wolfe

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But understand may stress the fact of attained grasp, and comprehend may stress the process by which it is attained; thus, one understands a decision when he knows what it involves even though he fails to comprehend the reasoning process on which it was based; a person may understand a foreign language without comprehending exactly how he learned it
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for well on a thousand years there have been universities in the Western world; to understand the present institutions, we must therefore comprehend something of their history— Conant

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Sometimes the difference is more subtle, for understand can imply the power to receive and register a clear and exact impression, and comprehend can imply the mental act of grasping clearly and fully; thus, the concept of infinity can be understood theoretically though scarcely comprehended as a verity
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in order fully to understand America, it is helpful to have some grasp of the origins, culture and problems of the racial and religious groups which are gradually being fused into one people— Current History

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the average layman—or Congressman—is deemed unable to comprehend the mystic intricacies and intrigues of foreign affairs— Kennedy

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felt in Russia the presence of elements he could not understand and never would understand, and . . . some of our official representatives said they shared with him this feeling of bafflement— Edmund Wilson

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being untutored in local history ... in no way detracted from my sense of enjoyment, nor lessened my ability to comprehend the real beauty of all that surrounded me— Carruthers

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Appreciate (see also APPRECIATE 2) implies a just judgment or the estimation of a thing's true or exact value; therefore the word is used in reference to persons or things which may be misjudged (as by underestimating or overestimating or by undervaluing or overvaluing)
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you are of an age now to appreciate his character— Meredith

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the public opinion which thus magnifies patriotism into a religion is a force of which it is difficult to appreciate ... the strength— Brownell

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a new type of State Department man with a most aggressive determination to see, to know and to appreciate all of his command— Michener

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Analogous words: conceive, realize, envision, envisage (see THINK): interpret, elucidate, construe (see EXPLAIN): penetrate, pierce, probe (see ENTER)

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

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  • Understand — Un der*stand ([u^]n d[ e]r*st[a^]nd ), v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Understood} (([u^]n d[ e]r*st[oo^]d ),), and Archaic {Understanded}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Understanding}.] [OE. understanden, AS. understandan, literally, to stand under; cf. AS. forstandan… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • understand — [un΄dər stand′] vt. understood, understanding [ME understanden < OE understandan, lit., to stand among, hence observe, understand] 1. to get or perceive the meaning of; know or grasp what is meant by; comprehend [to understand a question] 2.… …   English World dictionary

  • Understand — is a commercial static code analysis software tool produced by SciTools. It is primarily used to reverse engineer, automatically document, and calculate code metrics for projects with large code bases.Understand works through an IDE designed to… …   Wikipedia

  • Understand — Un der*stand , v. i. 1. To have the use of the intellectual faculties; to be an intelligent being. [1913 Webster] Imparadised in you, in whom alone I understand, and grow, and see. Donne. [1913 Webster] 2. To be informed; to have or receive… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • understand — (v.) O.E. understandan comprehend, grasp the idea of, probably lit. stand in the midst of, from under + standan to stand (see STAND (Cf. stand)). If this is the meaning, the under is not the usual word meaning beneath, but from O.E. under, from… …   Etymology dictionary

  • understand — [v1] appreciate, comprehend accept, apprehend, be aware, be conscious of, be with it*, catch, catch on, conceive, deduce, discern, distinguish, explain, fathom, figure out, find out, follow, get*, get the hang of*, get the idea*, get the picture* …   New thesaurus

  • understand — I verb absorb, apperceive, appreciate, apprehend, assimilate, be apprised, be informed, cognize, comprehend, conceive, conclude, conjecture, deduce, digest, discern, fathom, gather, glean, grasp, infer, intellegere, internalize, know, learn,… …   Law dictionary

  • understand by — index construe (comprehend) Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • understand — ► VERB (past and past part. understood) 1) perceive the intended meaning of (words, a language, or a speaker). 2) perceive the significance, explanation, or cause of. 3) interpret or view in a particular way. 4) infer from information received.… …   English terms dictionary

  • understand */*/*/ — UK [ˌʌndə(r)ˈstænd] / US [ˌʌndərˈstænd] verb [never progressive] Word forms understand : present tense I/you/we/they understand he/she/it understands present participle understanding past tense understood UK [ˌʌndə(r)ˈstʊd] / US [ˌʌndərˈstʊd]… …   English dictionary

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