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understanding noun

1 knowledge of a subject, of how sth works, etc.

ADJ. complete, full He showed a full understanding of the sequence of events. | growing | clear, deep, good, profound, proper, sophisticated, thorough, true You need to read more widely to gain a proper understanding of the issue. | adequate, basic, broad, general, sufficient | limited She has only a limited understanding of what the job involves. | conceptual, critical, rational, theoretical | historical, musical, scientific, etc. | instinctive | common Some religions have a common understanding of the nature of a divine being.

QUANT. level The students seem to have a reasonable level of understanding of how genes work.

VERB + UNDERSTANDING have | show | reflect This change of policy reflects a growing understanding of the extent of the problem. | lack | acquire, arrive at, gain | give sb | advance, broaden, deepen, develop, enhance, enrich, improve, increase a book that will deepen your understanding of global warming

PREP. ~ about The book aims to give children a balanced understanding of food, farming and the environment. | ~ of

PHRASES a lack of understanding

2 intelligence

ADJ. human

VERB + UNDERSTANDING pass a level of cruelty that passes human understanding

PREP. beyond (your) ~ The idea of eternity is beyond our full understanding.

3 ability to feel sympathy and trust

ADJ. deeper, great | mutual | international

VERB + UNDERSTANDING show He didn't show much understanding towards her when she lost her job. | bring (about), develop, lead to Greater contact between the two groups should lead to a better mutual understanding. | gain in, grow in After spending a month living together, they have gained in understanding of each other. | foster, promote, work for

PREP. ~ between The association fosters a deeper understanding between prisons and the public.

4 informal agreement

ADJ. written | verbal | tacit, unspoken There is an unspoken understanding that Hugh will be in charge while Jane is away.

VERB + UNDERSTANDING have | come to, reach They came to an understanding on when final payment was to be made.

PREP. ~ between an understanding between the companies to fight against the proposed tax reform | ~ on a tacit understanding on the need for a pay rise | on the ~ I thought you gave me the book on the understanding that I could keep it.