con·​ver·​sant kən-ˈvər-sᵊnt How to pronounce conversant (audio)
 also  ˈkän-vər-sənt
: having knowledge or experience
used with with
conversant with modern history
is conversant with the operating system of the computer
archaic : having frequent or familiar association
archaic : concerned, occupied

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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 This innovation could make the process both fairer and more efficient, because asylum officers are more conversant with country conditions and their proceedings are nonadversarial, thus more conducive to the presentation of protection claims. Muzaffar Chishti, Foreign Affairs, 23 Nov. 2021 In 2018, Ro Khanna, a Democrat Representative in California who was evidently conversant with Blackstone’s rhetoric, spoke pointedly to the Faustian bargain that workers–usually unwittingly–often make with firms like Blackstone when their savings are invested by them. Brett Christophers, Time, 23 June 2023 Here in New York, though, Sorey’s music is heard in the company not of Rothko but of another American painter: the contemporary artist Julie Mehretu, whose dense and digitally conversant abstractions flow and swarm where Rothko’s brooded. Jason Farago, New York Times, 28 Sep. 2022 Employers might reasonably expect entry-level workers to be conversant with AI and something like 50% more productive. Ryan Craig, Forbes, 21 Apr. 2023 Health care chaplains are trained to become conversant to some degree in a range of beliefs, both religious and more broadly spiritual, said the study’s lead author Kelsey White, a doctoral candidate in public health at the University of Louisville in Kentucky. Charlotte Huff, STAT, 27 Feb. 2021 There are other ways to be culturally conversant. Ben Crandell, Sun Sentinel, 22 Aug. 2022 And Julianne is very warm and very conversant. Lauren Huff,, 11 June 2021 Last year, the SEC proposed new rules that will require companies to disclose information on their cybersecurity oversight, including which board members are conversant in the area. Catherine Stupp, WSJ, 4 Jan. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'conversant.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


see converse entry 1

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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


Dictionary Entries Near conversant

Cite this Entry

“Conversant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


con·​ver·​sant kən-ˈvərs-ᵊnt How to pronounce conversant (audio)
: having knowledge or experience : familiar
conversant with the issues

More from Merriam-Webster on conversant

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