Definition: to fail to interpret or understand (something) correctly; to take (words, statements, etc.) in a wrong sense; understand wrongly.

Pronunciation/articulation: Dominant "2" handshape (palm out) with the forefinger on the head side rotates to the middle finger on the head side.

Definition: misunderstand big time; a big misunderstanding.

Related signs: CONFUSE,MISTAKE.

Written ASL

[Note: ASL writing is not an official standard. This sign language writing remains in a state of open space to allow room for experiment, evolution, and improvement.]


Written ASL digit for "MISUNDERSTAND". [Todd Hicks, ASLwrite, 2019.]

Deaf Culture and tidbits

Language development L1

This adorable anecdote demonstrates a glimpse of the language development in ASL as a first language in a bilingual preschooler named Juli. This anecdote shows how the preschooler learned the ASL word MISUNDERSTANDING. If she hadn't known this word, how would she have expressed this concept? Let's see. (All conversations in ASL as always)

One evening at dinner, Juli (age 5;0) told me YOU 'B'!. Previously, she always gave me an "A". I asked, "Why did I get a B?" She changed her mind, HMM, WAVE-NO, MY MIND WRONG. YOU "A". YOU NOT "B". MY MIND WRONG. She thought for an instant moment and quickly corrected herself, IX-me MISUNDERSTAND.

If she hadn't known the ASL word/sign for MISUNDERTAND, she would express this way, "My mind is wrong." It was some strategic competency of communication. But, she realized that she knew and remembered the ASL word for this concept that she learned a little while before. She then used it.

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