Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

To understand something - thesaurus

Synonyms

understand

verb

to know what someone or something means

know

verb

to realize or understand something

work out

to understand someone or something

comprehend

verb

formal to understand something

deduce

verb

formal to know something as a result of considering the information or evidence that you have

make sense of something

to understand something that is complicated or unusual

fall/fit into place

if something falls or fits into place, you suddenly understand something that you previously have been unable to understand

see the light

to suddenly realize or understand something, usually in a way that improves your life

get the idea

to understand something, often something that is not expressed directly

have a feel for something

to have a natural ability to do or understand something

decode

verb

linguistics to understand the meaning of a word, especially in a foreign language, when you see or hear it. To encode is to be able to express what you want to say.

Show me more
Show me less

More synonyms

appreciate

verb

to understand the true nature of a situation, and realize why it is important or serious

apprehend

verb

very formal to understand something

be in/out of tune with

informal to understand/not understand the feelings, opinions, or needs of a group of people

be on the same page

to understand and agree with what is being done or suggested

be on the same wavelength

to understand the way that another person thinks because you often have the same ideas and opinions as they do

be tuned in (to something)

to understand something such as a situation or someone else’s feelings

be with someone

to understand what someone is telling you

catch on

to understand

connect

verb

to feel you understand someone or something and have the same ideas, opinions, and beliefs

cotton on

to begin to realize or understand something

dawn on

if something dawns on you, you realize it for the first time

decipher

verb

to understand something mysterious or confusing

digest

verb

to understand information when there is a lot of it or it is difficult or unexpected

discriminate

verb

to recognize the difference between things

disentangle

verb

to separate ideas so that they are no longer confused

distinguish

verb

to recognize the differences between things

extrapolate

verb

formal to say what is likely to happen or be true by using information that you already have

fathom

verb

to understand something complicated or mysterious

figure out

to be able to understand something or to solve a problem

find

verb

to suddenly discover or realize something

follow

verb

to understand something, especially something long or complicated

get

verb

informal to understand someone or something

get a feel for something

to develop a good knowledge or understanding of something

get a grip on something

to begin to understand a difficult situation and start to find a way of dealing with it

get/have a fix on something

to understand clearly what something is like

get it into/through your head (that)

to understand and accept something

get something into/through your thick /head/skull

to start understanding something. This expression is used when you are angry and you think someone is being stupid

get something straight

to correctly understand something

get the message

to understand what someone is trying to tell you, even if they do not say it directly

get the picture

to understand something, especially something that someone tells you indirectly

get your head around something

to understand and accept something that seems strange

grasp

verb

to understand something

grow to love/hate/understand etc. something

if you grow to feel or understand something, you gradually start to feel or understand it

have a lock on something

to have total control of something or understand it completely

have/get a handle on something

to understand something well

have someone/something taped

to understand someone or something perfectly and to know how to deal with them effectively

have something down to a science

to be able to do something or understand something very well

hear

verb

to understand what someone is saying to you

in touch (with something)

to understand feelings or a situation very well

in touch (with something)

to continue to understand and know about a situation or subject

keep track

to have all the information that you need about something

keep up

to continue to understand what someone is saying

know from

to recognize the difference between two people or things

latch on

to suddenly understand or realize something

(the) light dawns

if light dawns on you, you suddenly understand or realize something

penetrate the mysteries of something

to understand the truth about something complicated or mysterious

pin down

to understand or describe something exactly

plumb

verb

formal to manage to understand something difficult or mysterious

realise

a British spelling of realize

realize

verb

to gradually begin to understand something that you did not know or notice before

relate to

to be able to understand a situation or the way that someone feels and thinks

see

verb

to understand something

see daylight

to understand something that you could not understand before

see someone/something for something

to realize what someone or something is really like, especially when this is worse than they appear to be

see through

to recognize that something is not true and not be tricked by it

take in

to understand and remember something that you hear or read

tap into

to understand and express something such as people’s beliefs or attitudes

taste

verb

mainly literary to realize what someone else is feeling or thinking

tumble to

informal to realize or understand something

tumble to

if you tumble to something such as a solution, you discover it suddenly

twig

verb

Britishinformal to realize something

understand

verb

to know what something spoken or written in a particular language means

understand

verb

to know how or why something happens, or what effect or influence something has

understand

verb

to know how someone feels or why someone does something, as a result of experience or by imagining what it must be like to be them

unravel

verb

to understand something complicated by thinking about it for a long time

unscramble

verb

to understand something clearly in your mind

wake up to

to start to realize something

wise up

to learn or understand the truth about something, or to tell someone the truth about something

BuzzWord

gaslight

to manipulate someone psychologically so that they begin to question their own perceptions and memories

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

Dunning-Kruger effect

the phenomenon by which an incompetent person is too incompetent to understand his own incompetence

add a word

Blog

A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play