1610s, "bring into existence, make or cause to become real," also "exhibit the actual existence of," from French réaliser "make real" (16c.), from real "actual" (see real (adj.)). The sense of "understand clearly, comprehend the reality of" is recorded by 1775. Sense of "obtain, amass, bring or get into actual possession" (money, profit, etc.) is from 1753. Related: Realized; realizing.
by 1650s, "of or pertaining to Abdera," in Thrace, whose citizens were proverbial as provincials who would laugh at anything or anyone they didn't understand (Abderian laughter), making their town the Hellenic equivalent of Gotham (q.v.). Especially (or alternatively) as it was the birthplace of Democritus the atomist, the "Laughing Philosopher" (born c. 460 B.C.E.) who observed human follies.
"understand empathically," 1961, an arbitrary formation by U.S. science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988) in his book "Stranger in a Strange Land." In the book it is a transliteration of a Martian word and is said to mean etymologically "to drink." It attained popular use in 1960s-70s counterculture but is perhaps obsolete now except in internet technology circles.
1785, slang, "practical sense, intelligence, knowledge of the world;" also a verb, "to know, to understand;" a West Indies pidgin borrowing of French savez(-vous)? "do you know?" or Spanish sabe (usted) "you know," the verb in both from Vulgar Latin *sapere, from Latin sapere "be wise, be knowing" (see sapient). The adjective, of persons, is attested by 1905, from the noun. Related: Savvily; savviness.
"theory of knowledge," 1856, coined by Scottish philosopher James F. Ferrier (1808-1864) from Greek episteme "knowledge, acquaintance with (something), skill, experience," from Ionic Greek epistasthai "know how to do, understand," literally "overstand," from epi "over, near" (see epi-) + histasthai "to stand," from PIE root *sta- "to stand, make or be firm." The scientific (as opposed to philosophical) study of the roots and paths of knowledge is epistemics (1969). Related: Epistemological; epistemologically.
CHEESE IT. Be silent, be quiet, don't do it. Cheese it, the coves are fly; be silent, the people understand our discourse. ["Dictionary of Buckish Slang, University Wit, and Pickpocket Eloquence," London, 1811]
1520s, "find out, discover" (a sense now obsolete); 1540s, "interpret (a coded writing, etc.) by the use of a key," from de- + cipher (v.). Perhaps in part a loan-translation from French déchiffrer. From c. 1600 in the transferred sense of "discover or explain the meaning of what is difficult to understand." Sense of "succeed in reading what is written in obscure or partially obliterated characters" is by 1710. Related: Deciphered; deciphering.
To understand the principle of Peaucellier's link-work, it is convenient to consider previously certain properties of a linkage, (to coin a new and useful word of general application), consisting of an arrangement of six links, obtained in the following manner ... (etc.). ["Recent Discoveries in Mechanical Conservation of Motion," in "Van Nostrand's Eclectic Engineering Magazine," vol. xi, July-December 1874]
late 14c., "grasped by the understanding" (rather than by the senses), from Old French intellectuel (13c.) and directly from Latin intellectualis "relating to the understanding," from intellectus "discernment, understanding," noun use of past participle of intelligere "to understand, discern" (see intelligence).
Sense of "characterized by a high degree of intellect" is from 1819. Meaning "appealing to or engaging the mental powers" is from 1834. Intellectual property "products of the intellect" is attested from 1845. Adjective formations in the sense "of or pertaining to the intellect" included intellective (early 15c.), intellectile (1670s).
mid-14c. "a translated text, a translation" (late 13c. in Anglo-French), from Old French interpretacion, entrepretatiun "explanation, translation" (12c.) and directly from Latin interpretationem (nominative interpretatio) "explanation, exposition," noun of action from past participle stem of interpretari "explain, expound; understand" (see interpret).
From late 14c. as "act or process of explaining or interpreting; an explanation; construction placed upon an action." Meaning "dramatic or musical representation" is from 1880.