American English

Definition of understanding noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1[uncountable, singular] understanding (of something) the knowledge that someone has about a particular subject or situation The committee has little or no understanding of the problem. The existence of God is beyond human understanding (= humans cannot know whether God exists or not). Most of the students have a sound understanding of English grammar.
  2. 2[countable, usually singular] an informal agreement We finally came to an understanding about what hours we would work. We have this understanding that no one talks about work over lunch.
  3. 3[uncountable, singular] the ability to understand why people behave in a particular way and the willingness to forgive them when they do something wrong We must tackle the problem with sympathy and understanding. We are looking for a better understanding between the two nations. Try to show a little more understanding.
  4. 4[uncountable, countable] understanding (of something) the particular way in which someone understands something synonym interpretation My understanding of the situation is… The statement is open to various understandings.
  5. Word Familyunderstand verb (misunderstand)understandable adjectivemisunderstood adjectiveunderstanding adjective noun (misunderstanding)Idioms
    on the understanding that… (formal)
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    used to introduce a condition that must be agreed before something else can happen They agreed to the changes on the understanding that they would be introduced gradually.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: understanding

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