v. ap·pre·hend·ed, ap·pre·hend·ing, ap·pre·hends
1. To take into custody; arrest: apprehended the murderer.
2. To grasp mentally; understand: "Science is the systematic method by which we apprehend what is true about the real world in which we live" (Richard Dawkins). See Synonyms at understand.
3. To become conscious of, as through the emotions or senses; perceive: "She began to look with her own eyes; to see and to apprehend the deeper undercurrents of life" (Kate Chopin).
4. Archaic To anticipate with worry or dread.
To understand something.
[Middle English apprehenden, from Old French apprehender, from Latin apprehendere, to seize : ad-, ad- + prehendere, to grasp; see ghend- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.