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

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

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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

Holly is fluent in Spanish and Quechua, the main indigenous language spoken in the Andes, and is conversant in both American and Peruvian Sign Languages. National Geographic, "Peru & the Amazon High School Expedition," 12 June 2019 Computer scientists conversant in Babai’s approach will presumably try to figure out whether further improvements can be milked from it, Aaronson predicted. Quanta Magazine, "Complexity Theory Problem Strikes Back," 5 Jan. 2017 Naiden is already conversant in English, Spanish, French, Italian and German and knows some Russian. Tammy Ayer, The Seattle Times, "Beloved Yakima doctor who delivered more than 15,000 babies celebrates retirement," 3 June 2019 Even toddlers, not yet conversant in hamachi and unagi, eat seaweed in little crisp packages as SeaSnax. Tamar Adler, Vogue, "Is Seaweed the Perfect Food?," 15 Feb. 2019 Monroe is conversant in everything from quantum mechanics to evolution to cosmetology, and then can connect it all to the state of uncertainty that art museums across the country are currently facing. Jackie Mansky, Smithsonian, "The Neuroscientist in the Art Museum," 19 June 2018 The ideal candidate will be deeply conversant with science and technology and can independently research complex technical issues. Ars Staff, Ars Technica, "Ars Technica is hiring a senior writer," 23 Apr. 2018 But the real diplomatic action, if there is any, is likely to take place between Kim and South Korea’s newish left-wing president who, unlike Trump, is actually conversant on the issues in play. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "4 stories that you shouldn’t miss this week, explained," 18 May 2018 The ideal candidate will be deeply conversant with science and technology and can independently research complex technical issues. Ars Staff, Ars Technica, "Ars Technica is hiring a senior writer," 23 Apr. 2018

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.

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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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Statistics for conversant

Last Updated

29 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for conversant

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

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on conversant

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for conversant

Spanish Central: Translation of 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).


something desired as essential

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