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  1. To have the use of the intellectual faculties; to be an intelligent and conscious being. All my soul be / Imparadis'd in you, in whom alone / I understand, and grow, and see. Donne.
  2. To be informed by another; to learn. I understood of the evil that Eliashib did. Neh. xiii.

UN-DER-STAND', v.t. [pret. and pp. understood. under and stand. The sense is to support or hold in mind.]

  1. To have just and adequate ideas of; to comprehend; to know; as, to understand a problem in Euclid; to understand a proposition or a declaration.
  2. To have the same ideas as the person who speaks, or the ideas which a person intends to communicate. I understood the preacher; the court perfectly understand the advocate or his argument.
  3. To receive or have the ideas expressed or intended to be conveyed in a writing or book; to know the meaning. It is important that we should understand the sacred oracles.
  4. To know the meaning of signs, or of any thing intended to convey ideas; as, to understand a nod, a wink or a motion.
  5. To suppose to mean. The most learned interpreters understood the words of sin, and not of Abel. Locke.
  6. To know by experience. Milton.
  7. To know by instinct. Amorous intent, well understood. Milton.
  8. To interpret, at least mentally. Stalingfleet.
  9. To know another's meaning. Milton.
  10. To hold in opinion with conviction. Milton.
  11. To mean without expressing. War then, war, Open or understood, must be resolv'd. Milton.
  12. To know what is not expressed. I bring them to receive From thee their names, and pay thee fealty With low subjection; understand the same Of fish. Milton.
  13. To learn; to be informed. I understand that congress have passed the bill.


That can be understood. [Not much used.] Chillingworth.


One who understands or knows by experience. [Little used.] Beaum.


  1. The faculty of the human mind by which it apprehends the real state of things presented to it, or by which it receives or comprehends the ideas which others express and intend to communicate. The understanding is called also the intellectual faculty. It is the faculty by means of which we obtain a great part of our knowledge. Luke xxiv. Eph. i. By understanding I mean that faculty whereby we are enabled to apprehend the objects of knowledge, generals or particulars, absent or present, and to judge of their truth or falsehood, good or evil. Watts. There is a spirit in man, and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth him understanding. Job xxxii.
  2. Knowledge; exact comprehension. Right understanding consists in the perception of the visible or probable agreement or disagreement of ideas. Locke.
  3. Intelligence between two or more persons; agreement of minds; union of sentiments. There is a good understanding between the minister and his people.


  1. Comprehending; apprehending the ideas or sense of another, or of a writing; learning or being informed.
  2. adj. Knowing; skillful. He is an understanding man.


Intelligibly; with full knowledge or comprehension of a question or subject; as, to vote upon a question understandingly; to act or judge understandingly. The gospel may be neglected, but it can not be understandingly disbelieved. J. Hawes.

UN-DER-STOOD', pp. [and pret. of Understand.]


A petty fellow; an inferior agent. Swift.


Subsoil; the bed or layer of earth on which the mold or soil rests. Cyc.


To underline. Swift.


That may be undertaken. [Not in use.] Chillingworth.

UN-DER-TAKE', v.i.

  1. To take upon or assume any business or province. O Lord, I am oppressed; undertake for me. Is. xxxviii.
  2. To venture; to hazard. They dare not undertake.
  3. To promise; to be bound. I dare undertake they will not lose their labor. Woodward. To undertake for, to be bound; to become surety for.

UN-DER-TAKE', v.t. [pret. undertook; pp. undertaken. under and take.]

  1. To engage in; to enter upon; to take in hand; to begin to perform. When I undertook this work, I had a very inadequate knowledge of the extent of my labors.
  2. To covenant or contract to perform or execute. A man undertakes to erect a house, or to make a mile of canal, when he enters into stipulations for that purpose.
  3. To attempt; as, when a man undertakes what he can not perform.
  4. To assume a character. [Not in use.] Shak.
  5. To engage with; to attack. Your lordship should not undertake every companion you offend. [Not in use.] Shak.
  6. To have the charge of. Who undertakes you to your end. [Not in use.] Shak.

UN-DER-TAK'EN, pp. [of Undertake.]

The work was undertaken at his own expense.


  1. One who undertakes; one who engages in any project or business. Clarendon.
  2. One who stipulates or covenants to perform any work for another. Swift.
  3. One who manages funerals. Young.


Any business, work or project which a person engages in, or attempts to perform; an enterprise. The canal, or the making of the canal, from the Hudson to lake Erie, a distance of almost four hundred miles, was the greatest undertaking of the kind in modern times. The attempt to find a navigable passage to the Pacific round North America, is a hazardous undertaking, and probably useless to navigation.


Engaging in; taking in hand; beginning to perform; stipulating to execute.


The tenant of a tenant; one who holds lands or tenements of a tenant.


Undern-tide; the time after dinner, or in the evening. [Not in use.] Spenser.

UN-DER-TOOK', v. [pret. of Undertake.]

UN-DER-TOW, n. [under and tow.]

A current of water below, in a different direction from that – UN-DIF-FUS'ED, a. Not diffused.

UN-DER-TREAS'UR-ER, n. [undertrezh'urer.]

A subordinate treasurer.


The act of valuing below the real worth; rate not equal to the worth.


Low rate or price; a price less than the real worth. Hamilton.