Meaning of Verstehen in English:


Pronunciation /fɛːˈʃteɪən/ /fɛɐˈʃteːən/


mass nounSociology
  • Empathic understanding of human behaviour.

    ‘a methodological framework founded upon the principles of Verstehen’
    • ‘This position can itself be viewed as the product of the confluence of three related stances: Weber's notion of Verstehen; symbolic interactionism; and phenomenology.’
    • ‘The social sciences are only based on a method called Verstehen (or what he calls conception).’
    • ‘The effect that this shared commitment to Verstehen had on the sorts of social theory they applied is profound.’
    • ‘It would take a good deal of historical research and, more than that, a real effort of Verstehen to gain any insight into the motives of the young men.’


German, literally ‘understanding’.