O.E. understandan "comprehend, grasp the idea of," probably lit. "stand in the midst of," from under + standan "to stand" (see stand). If this is the meaning, the under is not the usual word meaning "beneath," but from O.E. under , from PIE *nter- "between, among" (cf. Skt. antar "among, between," L. inter "between, among," Gk. enteraepistamai "I know how, I know," lit. "I stand upon." Similar formations are found in O.Fris. ( understonda ), M.Dan. ( understande ), while other Gmc. languages use compounds meaning "stand before" (cf. Ger. verstehen , represented in O.E. by forstanden ). For this concept, most I.E. languages use fig. extensions of compounds that lit. mean "put together," or "separate," or "take, grasp."
So...I am standing in a grove of cedars with scholars. I'm getting a bit warm (it is July in Greece after all). Costa, who is a bit of a bore, is puncturing the air in front of his face with his hoary old finger - thinking that'll help with his argument no doubt. I sigh as I think of my wife and how her arm looks like a fine bow when she reaches for a cluster of grapes on the vine. My mind goes to whether I can leave the grove without anyone commenting, for I'm young and I don't want to offend my elders, when Niko turns to me and whispers, 'your sigh is louder than even this blowhard's rant - be off to your new wife and I'll say I sent you on an errand'. Ah, he understands. I flee.