con·​ver·​sant | \ kən-ˈvər-sᵊnt How to pronounce conversant (audio) also ˈkän-vər-sənt \

Definition of conversant

1 : having knowledge or experience used with with conversant with modern historyis conversant with the operating system of the computer
2 archaic : having frequent or familiar association
3 archaic : concerned, occupied

Did you know?

The adjectives conversant and conversational are related; both are descendants of Latin conversari, meaning "to associate with." Conversant dates to the Middle Ages, and an early meaning of the word was simply "having familiar association." One way to associate with others is to have a conversation with them—in other words, to talk. For a short time in the 19th century conversant could mean "relating to or suggesting conversation," but for the most part that meaning stayed with conversational while conversant went in a different direction. Today, conversant is sometimes used, especially in the United States, with the meaning "able to talk in a foreign language," as in "she is conversant in several languages," but it is more often associated with knowledge or familiarity, as in "conversant with the issues."

Examples of conversant in a Sentence

She's conversant in several languages. a world traveler who is highly conversant with the customs of foreign cultures
Recent Examples on the Web Those stories are all self-enclosed, with conversant themes and beats but no overlapping characters. Justin Changfilm Critic, Los Angeles Times, 28 Apr. 2022 Al Qaeda was a relatively minor threat magnified into an existential menace, including by intellectuals conversant in fatuous historical analogies. Jordan Michael Smith, The New Republic, 10 Mar. 2022 Pretty much any woman conversant in American history. Los Angeles Times, 31 Dec. 2021 Through her editorial work, Yanagihara, who is forty-seven, has become conversant with hundreds of creative people and their work. The New Yorker, 10 Jan. 2022 Popular perception in the developed world remains that crypto is at best the domain of meme-conversant Wolf of Wall Street-like figures and at worst of drug dealers. Boaz Sobrado, Wired, 19 Dec. 2021 Hines, like Witt, is Ivy League-educated and focuses his pitch on populist themes but is equally conversant in GOP culture wars. Colby Itkowitz, Anchorage Daily News, 27 Dec. 2021 Executives are conversant with financial risk, competitive risk, and human capital risk—but data risk? Expert Panel®, Forbes, 9 Dec. 2021 And that Obama's ability to be conversant on pop culture, not to mention his sarcastic sense of humor, was a good fit for the shows. Chris Cillizza, CNN, 10 Dec. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'conversant.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of conversant

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for conversant

see converse entry 1

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The first known use of conversant was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

2 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Conversant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on conversant

Britannica English: Translation of conversant for Arabic Speakers


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