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

Keep scrolling for more

Did You Know?

The adjectives "conversant" and "conversational" are related; both are descendants of Latin conversari, meaning "to associate with." The earliest English meaning of "conversant" in the 1300s 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 Our students, while adhering to biblical viewpoints on the origin and diversity of life, must be fully conversant with, and able to think critically about, both models. WSJ, "Science and Creationism in Serious Colleges," 11 Mar. 2021 Los Dioses, unfortunately, is more of a Both Worlds scenario, hampered by cookie cutter songwriting, conversant in popular sounds but always downwind of them, pleasant on the surface but frequently hollow on closer inspection. Craig Jenkins, Vulture, "Anuel AA and Ozuna Are Better Off Building Separate Empires," 25 Jan. 2021 Her most recent work, made during the first lockdown and seen in a thundering show at Marian Goodman Gallery, is less readily legible, more digitally conversant, and more confident than ever. New York Times, "11 Things Our Critics Are Looking Forward to in 2021," 31 Dec. 2020 Those conversant with both realms enjoy a signal advantage. Bryan A. Garner, National Review, "How the Internet Has Revolutionized Research in the Humanities," 17 Dec. 2020 But the old-fashioned scholars not conversant with computer research are at a distinct disadvantage. Bryan A. Garner, National Review, "How the Internet Has Revolutionized Research in the Humanities," 17 Dec. 2020 In addition to English, Dr. Carvajal is conversant in Spanish., "Community News For The Putnam-Killingly Edition," 4 Dec. 2020 Everyone in town is conversant with these calamities, the figures involved and the attendant risks of speaking to the police. Washington Post, "Make room for ‘Big Girl, Small Town’," 2 Dec. 2020 The average literate Anchorage resident then was likely more conversant about international affairs than their modern equivalent. David Reamer, Anchorage Daily News, "Mud, fires and bootlegging: What daily life looked like in the early years of Anchorage," 9 Nov. 2020

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.

See More

First Known Use of conversant

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for conversant

see converse entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about conversant

Time Traveler for conversant

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Listen to Our Podcast about conversant

Statistics for conversant

Last Updated

15 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Conversant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for conversant



English Language Learners Definition of conversant

formal used to say that someone knows about something or has experience with it + with
US : able to talk in a foreign language

More from Merriam-Webster on conversant

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for conversant

Britannica English: Translation of conversant for Arabic Speakers

Comments on conversant

What made you want to look up conversant? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!