To misunderstand is to incorrectly interpret what someone means. If you misunderstand the directions for taking your medication, you might end up feeling loopy or passing out.

When a football player misunderstands the coach's instructions, he might make the wrong play. If a baker misunderstands what you ask him to write on your best friend's birthday cake, he might misspell her name. The verb misunderstand adds the "bad" or "wrong" prefix mis- to understand, from an Old English root, understandan, that literally means "stand in the midst of."

Definitions of misunderstand
  1. verb
    interpret in the wrong way
    synonyms: be amiss, misapprehend, misconceive, misconstrue, misinterpret
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    type of:
    construe, interpret, see
    make sense of; assign a meaning to
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