Entries linking to misapprehend
prefix of Germanic origin affixed to nouns and verbs and meaning "bad, wrong," from Old English mis-, from Proto-Germanic *missa- "divergent, astray" (source also of Old Frisian and Old Saxon mis-, Middle Dutch misse-, Old High German missa-, German miß-, Old Norse mis-, Gothic missa-), perhaps literally "in a changed manner," and with a root sense of "difference, change" (compare Gothic misso "mutually"), and thus possibly from PIE *mit-to-, from root *mei- (1) "to change."
Productive as word-forming element in Old English (as in mislæran "to give bad advice, teach amiss"). In 14c.-16c. in a few verbs its sense began to be felt as "unfavorably," and it came to be used as an intensive prefix with words already expressing negative feeling (as in misdoubt). Practically a separate word in Old and early Middle English (and often written as such). Old English also had an adjective (mislic "diverse, unlike, various") and an adverb (mislice "in various directions, wrongly, astray") derived from it, corresponding to German misslich (adj.). It has become confused with mis- (2).
late 14c., apprehenden, "grasp with the senses or mind;" early 15c., "grasp, take hold of" physically, from Latin apprehendere "to take hold of, grasp," from ad "to" (see ad-) + prehendere "to seize." This is from prae- "before;" see pre- + -hendere, from PIE root *ghend- "to seize, take."
The metaphoric extension to "seize with the mind" took place in Latin and was the sole sense of cognate Old French aprendre (12c., Modern French appréhender). Often "to hold in opinion but without positive certainty."
We "apprehend" many truths which we do not "comprehend" [Richard Trench, "On the Study of Words," 1856]
Also compare apprentice). The specific meaning "seize in the name of the law, arrest," is from 1540s. The meaning "be in fear of the future, anticipate with dread" is from c. 1600. Related: Apprehended; apprehending.
updated on January 27, 2019