Definition of comprehend verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

 

comprehend

 verb
verb
BrE BrE//ˌkɒmprɪˈhend//
 
; NAmE NAmE//ˌkɑːmprɪˈhend//
 
[intransitive, transitive]Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they comprehend
BrE BrE//ˌkɒmprɪˈhend//
 
; NAmE NAmE//ˌkɑːmprɪˈhend//
 
he / she / it comprehends
BrE BrE//ˌkɒmprɪˈhendz//
 
; NAmE NAmE//ˌkɑːmprɪˈhendz//
 
past simple comprehended
BrE BrE//ˌkɒmprɪˈhendɪd//
 
; NAmE NAmE//ˌkɑːmprɪˈhendɪd//
 
past participle comprehended
BrE BrE//ˌkɒmprɪˈhendɪd//
 
; NAmE NAmE//ˌkɑːmprɪˈhendɪd//
 
-ing form comprehending
BrE BrE//ˌkɒmprɪˈhendɪŋ//
 
; NAmE NAmE//ˌkɑːmprɪˈhendɪŋ//
 
 
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(often used in negative sentences) (formal) to understand something fully He stood staring at the dead body, unable to comprehend. comprehend something The infinite distances of space are too great for the human mind to comprehend. comprehend how/why, etc… She could not comprehend how someone would risk people's lives in that way. comprehend that… He simply could not comprehend that she could be guilty. Synonymsunderstandsee get follow grasp comprehendThese words all mean to know or realize something, for example why something happens, how something works or what something means.understand to know or realize the meaning of words, a language, what somebody says, etc; to know or realize how or why something happens, how it works or why it is important:I don’t understand the instructions. Doctors still don’t understand much about the disease.see to understand what is happening, what somebody is saying, how something works or how important something is:‘It opens like this.’ ‘Oh, I see.’ Oh yes, I see what you mean.get (informal) to understand a joke, what somebody is trying to tell you, or a situation that they are trying to describe:She didn’t get the joke. I don’t get you.follow to understand an explanation, a story or the meaning of something:Sorry—I don’t quite follow. The plot is almost impossible to follow.grasp to come to understand a fact, an idea or how to do something:They failed to grasp the importance of his words.understand or grasp?You can use understand or grasp for the action of realizing the meaning or importance of something for the first time:It’s a difficult concept for children to understand/​grasp. Only understand can be used to talk about languages, words or writing:I don’t grasp French/​the instructions.comprehend (often used in negative statements) (formal) to understand a fact, idea or reason:The concept of infinity is almost impossible for the human mind to comprehend.Patterns to understand/​see/​get/​follow/​grasp/​comprehend what/​why/​how… to understand/​see/​grasp/​comprehend that… to understand/​see/​get/​grasp the point/​idea (of something) to be easy/​difficult/​hard to understand/​see/​follow/​grasp/​comprehend to fully understand/​see/​grasp/​comprehend something Word Origin Middle English: from Old French comprehender, or Latin comprehendere, from com- ‘together’ + prehendere ‘grasp’.Extra examples She could barely comprehend what was happening to her. She failed to comprehend the seriousness of the situation. He stood staring at the body, unable to comprehend. She could not comprehend how anyone could endanger human life in that way. The concept of infinity is almost impossible for the human mind to comprehend.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: comprehend