Communication seems to focus on the act of delivering information but not on whether it was received or understood. Oxford dictionary has only a sub-note referring to the success of communication and Webster's has no mention at all! Successful communication also does not necessarily require information to have been received but only that it be well delivered.

I want a word that means the successful transmission, reception and understanding of an idea by means of communication.

This isn't my particular usage case but the right word could summarize the idea that were everyone in the world to communicate in such a way that they fully understood each other's ideas then there would be no war. e.g.

"If everyone blank, there'd be no war."

The word communication falls miserably short in this context because obviously there is a lot of communication happening but there's insufficient reception and understanding of what has been communicated, even among speakers of a common language because of varying backgrounds, regional word connotations, idiolects and a whole slew of other problems.

This question went kind of the right direction but didn't get where I want to go: What is the difference between interaction, communication, conversation, and discussion?

Whatever this word is, it's key to the success of any and every relationship. Maybe relationships fail because we don't have a word that describes what we're lacking.. (not an invitation for migration to philosophy.stackexchange!)

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    The premise of this question is incorrect. Wikipedia has the following to say, which corresponds with several different communication trainings I've received and given: – Terah Mar 3 '16 at 20:15
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    Communication (from Latin commūnicāre, meaning "to share"[1]) is the purposeful activity of information exchange between two or more participants in order to convey or receive the intended meanings through a shared system of signs and semiotic rules. The basic steps of communication are the forming of communicative intent, message composition, message encoding, transmission of signal, reception of signal, message decoding and finally interpretation of the message by the recipient. – Terah Mar 3 '16 at 20:15
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    People have perhaps forgotten some steps, thinking that communication is synonymous to 'monologue', but it really does incorporate all the elements to check if the message is received and understood/interpreted as intended. – Terah Mar 3 '16 at 20:17
  • @Terah You're right the etymology of communication has that nuance but my two go-to online dictionaries leave it out. I think since that aspect has fallen out of common usage enough to be left out of dictionaries, it no longer is a part of the widely accepted meaning. I think for me to convey my idea today, I need to find another word. – Still.Tony Mar 3 '16 at 20:21
  • In business and professional communcation, it's all very real and distinctive to be honest, and there are plenty of visual communication models to be found. Perhaps the general public should be re-awakened - we wouldn't need a new word then :) – Terah Mar 3 '16 at 20:27

Convey: (Verb) to make (something) known to someone

MW definition

Google also gave a slightly better definition: make (an idea, impression, or feeling) known or understandable to someone.

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  • DOH! I just used convey in my comment above! Can't believe I didn't think of that. – Still.Tony Mar 3 '16 at 20:23
  • This is not 'communication'. I give you the finger and you stare blankly at me. I don't know if you realized that you almost ran me off the road, and even if you did, doing that to people is so normal for you that you might not understand why I conveyed to you that particular message. Without communication, I still would have conveyed a message, but there'd be no understanding between us. – Terah Mar 3 '16 at 20:26
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    @Terah Isn't your example an issue of poor communication rather than conveyance? If you intended to convey that I cut you off, you did not convey that by flipping the bird, you conveyed that you were angry, which I understood perfectly. – MoondogsMaDawg Mar 3 '16 at 20:54
  • @Christopher D. - Well, that example was just to illustrate that conveying something, ie. making something known to someone, does not in itself constitute 'communication', but that it is just a part of it. Perhaps a better example is when someone calls home and say he won't be in time for dinner. He conveys a message, that we can assume to have been understood. However, communication is an ongoing thing - When will you be home? Do I need to save up food? The message was received, but the recipient needed more info before deeming the communication to have be succesful. – Terah Mar 3 '16 at 21:01
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    Poor communication, sure, but only because only one message was conveyed - leaving the circle of communication incomplete. Maybe these few slides will explain it better than I can at the moment :P – Terah Mar 3 '16 at 21:02

When there is "resonance", a term used in electronics, there is a tuning between transmitter and receiver, or in this case, the speaker and the listener. resonance : - a quality of enriched significance, profundity, or allusiveness: "The poem has a resonance beyond its surface meaning."

  • a relationship of mutual understanding or trust and agreement between people - a relationship of mutual understanding or trust and agreement between people

The popular expression is : "To be on the same wavelength"

If two people are on the same wavelength, it is easy for them to understand and agree with each other "To my surprise, I found that we were absolutely on the same wavelength about most of the important issues." "I can't discuss anything with her - we're simply not on the same wavelength."

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  • "If everyone were on the same wavelength, there would be no war" works quite well; it just sounds like a belief that George Bush would subscribe to. – Egox Mar 4 '16 at 1:34

In data science there is the concept of 'Acknowledgement" of a transmission. This is the first step that shows that the communication was received, but does not allow for whether it was correctly interpreted. In a communication, you would normally issue a 'response" once the content was understood. I wonder if the closest we have is 'OK"? Meaning yes I heard, and/or yes I understood.

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  • Wouldn't this be more related to the communication protocol being used than deal with the message itself? An acknowledgement of receipt is not the same as an acknowledgement of understanding. – Terah Mar 3 '16 at 21:14

Going back to the question originally stated, "heard and understood", in the "development of language world" the word "process" may fit. Example; "although he heard the shocking news on TV, he didn't process the information until the next day".

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  • I believe that this doesn't really get at the heart of what the question is about. If "he" is able to "process the information ... the next day", that means that he must have understood it (at some level) when he heard it. – Scott Mar 4 '16 at 5:57
  • In some cases if the information is complex or has multiple consequences it takes time to assimilate - it may be a leap but I have always looked at processed as a chain of cognitive and behavioral acts that are not necessarily linear - attend, take in (input), assisimilate - understanding. How just because there is understanding doesn't mean there is agreement – Ann Filer Mar 4 '16 at 20:49
  • I agree that it can take time to assimilate/absorb/internalize/process information, but my point is that (I believe) that most people would consider understanding to be a precursor to full assimilation/absorption, and not an ultimate end state.  I guess “understanding” can be understood (cough cough) to refer to various points on the cognition spectrum.  Since the question refers to “varying backgrounds, regional word connotations, idiolects and … other problems”, I believe that the OP is not referring to the kind of understanding that takes time and reflection to achieve.  … (Cont’d) – Scott Mar 4 '16 at 21:47
  • (Cont’d) …  Further, you have now brought “agreement” into the mix.  You say, “just because there is understanding doesn’t mean there is agreement”.  So what?  The question isn’t asking about successful transmission, reception and agreement to a position; it’s asking about successful transmission, reception and understanding of an idea.  I feel that you’re getting further away from the question. – Scott Mar 4 '16 at 21:47

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