Meaning of comprehension in English:


Pronunciation /kɒmprɪˈhɛnʃ(ə)n/

See synonyms for comprehension

Translate comprehension into Spanish


mass noun
  • 1The ability to understand something.

    ‘some won't have the least comprehension of what I'm trying to do’
    • ‘the comprehension of spoken language’
    • ‘Since you are striving for something that is basically beyond your comprehension and ability, you cannot trust yourself to do all the right things to get you there.’
    • ‘It is simply beyond a tourist's comprehension to understand why such ancient monuments, which do not require maintenance on a weekly basis, are closed once a week.’
    • ‘When reading comprehension is assessed through writing, these difficulties are compounded.’
    • ‘Her mother looked at her for a moment before comprehension dawned on her face.’
    • ‘Success in the math lesson was not dependent on the students' full comprehension of mathematical problems or questions.’
    • ‘How do I decode such an obtuse dialect with my mere mortal comprehension of the English language?’
    • ‘According to Wolf and Bowers, they may also show problems in reading comprehension.’
    • ‘Letter matching was also found to predict significantly reading comprehension in later elementary school.’
    • ‘And how such reading exercises would help genuine poets replenish their language defies comprehension.’
    • ‘Do not mistake my accent for poor comprehension of your language.’
    • ‘The look changed to one of dawning comprehension and the guard turned to shout a warning.’
    • ‘What makes the red heifer so interesting is that it is beyond human comprehension.’
    • ‘Instead of that sixth-grade math class, I think maybe Murray needs a few remedial lessons in verbal comprehension.’
    • ‘I admit it is a big challenge for my English listening comprehension.’
    • ‘Both types of curriculum encompass listening comprehension, speaking, reading, writing, and grammar components.’
    • ‘Despite the anxiety that went with less than full comprehension, he took the job.’
    • ‘The passage of time and the limits of the written record have rendered full comprehension unobtainable.’
    • ‘On the other hand, reading the texts from two different perspectives may improve comprehension.’
    • ‘Bells and whistles don't necessarily improve comprehension, says Mathie.’
    • ‘To enhance comprehension, workbooks contain lessons but not headings or titles.’
    understanding, ability to understand, grasp, grip, conception, apprehension, cognition, cognizance, ken, knowledge, awareness, perception, discernment
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1British The setting of questions on a set text to test understanding, as a school exercise.
      as modifier ‘comprehension exercises’
      • ‘The comprehensions and the questions on them were lovely.’
      • ‘She said the comprehensions at ordinary level were a bit difficult and the grammar was as hard as at higher level but the topics should have been of interest to students.’
      • ‘The comprehensions were challenging but in the composition section the varied choice of essay titles in general satisfied the students.’
      • ‘One of the comprehensions, dealing with the Irish Army involvement with the UN, he felt was okay.’
      • ‘The comprehensions are normally difficult but it was really manageable.’
      • ‘On other occasions a maths worksheet or a written comprehension exercise might be the homework activity.’
      • ‘I dare say that these days children aren't faced with a reading list, to be followed up by a series of comprehension exercises.’
      • ‘In my office I was able to cut stencils on a heavy-duty office typewriter and run off sheets of grammar, comprehension and writing exercises on the office Gestetner duplicator.’
      • ‘Materials include comprehension questions and ideas for discussion or accompanying activities and games.’
  • 2archaic Inclusion.

    1. 2.1historical The inclusion of Nonconformists within the Established Church of England (as proposed in the 17th to 19th centuries but not adopted).


Late Middle English from French compréhension or Latin comprehensio(n-), from the verb comprehendere ‘seize, comprise’ (see comprehend).