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The following statistics are based on the British National Corpus, so they are representative for the British English.

Distribution of usage frequency for the most common synonyms of the noun understanding:

Video footage: 1950s - A film about understanding your emotions attempts to teach teenagers how to cope with their feelings, 1950.
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Definition of the noun understanding

What does understanding mean as a name of something?

Understanding is one of the top 1000 most common nouns in the English language.

noun - plural: understandings

  1. the cognitive condition of someone who understands
  2. the statement (oral or written) of an exchange of promises
    • example: there was an understanding between management and the workers
    • lexical domain: Communicative Processes - nouns denoting communicative processes and contents
    • synonym of understanding: agreement
    • more generic word: statement = a message that is stated or declared
    • more specific terms:
      • confederacy / conspiracy = a secret agreement between two or more people to perform an unlawful act
      • fair-trade agreement = an agreement (illegal in the United States) between the manufacturer of a trademarked item of merchandise and its retail distributors to sell the item at a price at or above the price set by the manufacturer
      • covenant = an agreement between God and his people in which God makes certain promises and requires certain behavior from them in return
      • unilateral contract = a one-sided agreement whereby you promise to do (or refrain from doing) something in return for a performance
      • sales agreement / sale = an agreement (or contract) in which property is transferred from the seller (vendor) to the buyer (vendee) for a fixed price in money
      • bargain / deal = an agreement between parties (usually arrived at after discussion) fixing obligations of each
      • working agreement = an informal agreement to work together
      • gentlemen's agreement = a personal agreement based on honor and not legally binding
      • written agreement = a legal document summarizing the agreement between parties
      • submission = an agreement between parties in a dispute to abide by the decision of an arbiter
      • entente cordiale / entente = a friendly understanding between political powers
      • oral contract = an agreement that is not in writing and is not signed by the parties but is a real existing contract that lacks only the formal requirement of a memorandum to render it enforceable in litigation
      • reservation = the written record or promise of an arrangement by which accommodations are secured in advance
      • settlement = a conclusive resolution of a matter and disposition of it
      • severance agreement = an agreement on the terms on which an employee will leave
      • suicide pact = an agreement by two or more people to commit suicide together at a given place and time
    • part: condition / strings / term = a statement of what is required as part of an agreement
  3. an inclination to support or be loyal to or to agree with an opinion
    • example: I knew I could count on his understanding
    • lexical domain: Cognitive Processes - nouns denoting cognitive processes and contents
    • synonym of understanding: sympathy
    • more generic words: disposition / inclination / tendency = an attitude of mind especially one that favors one alternative over others
  4. the capacity for rational thought or inference or discrimination

Alternative definition of the noun understanding


  1. [uncountable] Mental, sometimes emotional 'process' of comprehension, assimilation of knowledge, which is subjective by its nature.
  2. [countable] Reason or intelligence, 'ability' to grasp the full meaning of knowledge, ability to infer.
  3. [countable] Opinion, judgement or outlook.
  4. [countable] An informal contract, mutual agreement.
  5. [countable] A reconciliation of differences.
  6. [uncountable] Sympathy.
  7. All that people individually sense and feel of ourselves.

Definition of the adjective understanding

What does understanding mean as an attribute of a noun?

adjective - degrees: more understanding / most understanding

  1. characterized by understanding based on comprehension and discernment and empathy
    • example: an understanding friend
    • similar: perceptive

Alternative definition of the adjective understanding


  1. Showing compassion.


Understanding is a documentary television series that aired from 1994 to 2004 on TLC. The program covered various things understood from a scientific perspective and was narrated by Jane Curtin and Peter Coyote.


  1. "Understanding" is a 1972 R&B album recorded by Bobby Womack for United Artists Records. Womack recorded Understanding in Memphis, Tennessee at American Sound Studio and in Muscle Shoals Sound Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. At Muscle Shoals, he utilized top session players, including drummer Roger Hawkins, guitarists Jimmy Johnson and Tippy Armstrong, bassist David Hood and keyboardist Barry Beckett.
  2. "Understanding" is a song by American R&B group Xscape. Written by Manuel Seal, the song was released as the group's second single from the group's 1993 debut album Hummin' Comin' at 'Cha. The song reached number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 and spent two weeks at number one on the Hot R&B Singles chart.
  3. "Understanding" is a compilation album by female R&B act Xscape, released on December 22, 2002.
  4. "Understanding" is an album by American organist John Patton recorded in 1968 and released on the Blue Note label.
    • genre: Jazz
    • released on (46 years ago)
  5. "Understanding" is a musical single of Barrio Brothers & Blakkat.
    • released in (14 years ago)
  6. "Understanding" is a 1994 album by Winnie Hsin.
  7. "Understanding" is a musical album of New Flesh.
    • released on (12 years ago)
  8. "Understanding" is a musical single of Hitomi.
    • released on (12 years ago)
  9. "Understanding" is a composition.


Understanding is a psychological process related to an abstract or physical object, such as a person, situation, or message whereby one is able to think about it and use concepts to deal adequately with that object. Understanding is a relation between the knower and an object of understanding. Understanding implies abilities and dispositions with respect to an object of knowledge sufficient to support intelligent behavior.

Phrases with Understanding

  1. mutual understanding
  2. Communal Understanding
  3. Natural language understanding
  4. According to One's Understanding

Printed dictionaries and other books with definitions for Understanding

Click on a title to look inside that book (if available):

Google previewThe SAGE Encyclopedia of Qualitative Research Methods (2008)

by Lisa M. Given

Understanding is comprehending an entity; achieving a grasp of the essence of another or of an experience; empathizing or sympathizing with another individual , group, or culture; or knowing what something is about or what something is like.

Google previewA dictionary of philosophy in the words of philosophers (1887)

by J. Radford Thomson

According to Kant, the mind has three general intellectual powers, the Sense, the Understanding (Verstand), and the Reason (Vernunft) ; the Sense giving us presentations or phenomena ; the Understanding binding these by categories ; and ...

Google previewHistorical Dictionary of Hobbes's Philosophy (2012)

by Juhana Lemetti

UNDERSTANDING (Lat. intellectus). A form of imagination, more precisely imagination “that is raysed in man (or any other creature indued with the faculty of imagining) by words, or other voluntary signes” (Leviathan II, 8). Though Hobbes ...

Google previewA Dictionary of Correspondences, Representatives, and Significatives Derived from the Word of the Lord. Extracted from the Writings of E. Swedenborg. [Abridged Principally from The"Dictionary of Correspondences,"by G. Nicholson.] (1841)

by Emanuel Swedenborg, George NICHOLSON (Incumbent of Little Budworth.)

the understanding of truth, and man (homo) the perception of good; and by both, the church as to truth, and as to good. (Jer, ii.

Online dictionaries and encyclopedias with entries for Understanding

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Photos about Understanding

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If you need related images for an article or a report, you can download stock photos:
Small photo of Understanding and explaining sending clear message. Lawyer wear polish toga and show hand sign. Man make gesture with hand two fingers victory sign.Small photo of Street art poster on a wooden street light giving you courage, wisdom, passion,strength, peace, understanding, kindness or claritySmall photo of Student Classmate Friends Understanding Study ConceptSmall photo of Insight Understanding Mindful Awareness Believe ConceptSmall photo of Two middle-aged sisters are sitting next to each other, and express loyalty, attention, love, support and understandingSmall photo of Creative enlightenment, understanding and generating new ideas, innovator and inventor with hand holding light bulb, retro toned image, selective focus.Small photo of AI Artificial Intelligence cyborg hand of god reaches to human fingers to create a singular intelligent understanding between humanity science robot and machine More...

Video language resources about Understanding

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See also the pronunciation examples of Understanding!

Quotes about Understanding

Large skepticism leads to large understanding. Small skepticism leads to small understanding. No skepticism leads to no understanding. (Xi Zhi)
more quotes about understanding...

Scrabble value of U1N1D2E1R1S1T1A1N1D2I1N1G2

The value of this 13-letter word is 16 points. It is included in the first and second editions of the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary.

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