familiar

noun
fa·​mil·​iar | \ fə-ˈmil-yər How to pronounce familiar (audio) \

Definition of familiar

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a member of the household of a high official
2 : one who is often seen and well known especially : an intimate associate : companion
3 : a spirit often embodied in an animal and held to attend and serve or guard a person the loathsome toad, the witches' familiar— Harvey Graham
4a : one who is well acquainted with something familiars of violence— John Updike
b : one who frequents a place familiars of the embassy— Rebecca West

familiar

adjective
fa·​mil·​iar | \ fə-ˈmil-yər How to pronounce familiar (audio) \

Definition of familiar (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : closely acquainted : intimate a familiar family friend
2 obsolete : affable, sociable
3a : of or relating to a family remembering past familiar celebrations
b : frequented by families a familiar resort
4a : being free and easy the familiar association of old friends
b : marked by informality a familiar essay
c : overly free and unrestrained : presumptuous grossly familiar behavior
d : moderately tame familiar animals
5a : frequently seen or experienced : easily recognized a familiar theme
b : of everyday occurrence a familiar routine
c : possibly known but imperfectly remembered her face looked familiar
6 : having personal or intimate knowledge used with with familiar with the facts of the case

Other Words from familiar

Adjective

familiarly adverb
familiarness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for familiar

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Choose the Right Synonym for familiar

Adjective

common, ordinary, plain, familiar, popular, vulgar mean generally met with and not in any way special, strange, or unusual. common implies usual everyday quality or frequency of occurrence a common error lacked common honesty and may additionally suggest inferiority or coarseness. common manners ordinary stresses conformance in quality or kind with the regular order of things. an ordinary pleasant summer day a very ordinary sort of man plain is likely to suggest homely simplicity. plain hard-working people familiar stresses the fact of being generally known and easily recognized. a familiar melody popular applies to what is accepted by or prevalent among people in general sometimes in contrast to upper classes or special groups. a writer of popular romances vulgar, otherwise similar to popular, is likely to carry derogatory connotations (as of inferiority or coarseness). souvenirs designed to appeal to the vulgar taste

Examples of familiar in a Sentence

Noun a longtime familiar of the bar, she would most likely have been there on the night in question with old familiars the normally reserved writer can be quite warm and funny Adjective Some authors, such as Richard Rodriguez and Ruben Martinez, will be familiar to media mavens outside the region … — Ray Olson, Booklist, 15 Oct. 1996 I think one reason I finally have finished a novel about baseball is that it happens to be one of the few subjects that I know much about. If I were as familiar with forestry, music,  … or the city of Rotterdam, I am sure I would have written fiction grounded in that knowledge long ago. — Philip Roth, Reading Myself and Others, 1975 The essay covers familiar ground. She has become a familiar figure in the world of politics. She spoke in a familiar way about her past. an essay written in a familiar style a familiar way of addressing someone They felt the waiter was being overly familiar. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Alongside the food-court familiar, though, diners will find frog legs, beef tendon, pork intestine. Amy Drew Thompson, orlandosentinel.com, 29 Aug. 2021 John Obi Mikel, a Nigerian familiar for his years with Chelsea, left another Turkish team, Trabzonspor, this week. Victor Mather, New York Times, 19 Mar. 2020 During the Salem witch hunts, common folklore said that witches transformed into their familiars (black cats). Lisa Stardust, Teen Vogue, 22 Oct. 2019 For Fringe familiars, there are a few changes for 2019, Bentley says. Kathy Berdan, Twin Cities, 29 July 2019 According to demon lore, Paimon is a master of the arts and familiars (spirits that often manifest as animals) who will bless his followers with wealth. Yohana Desta, HWD, 8 June 2018 Toi GB took the microphone, started to sing in a familiar growled whisper, and the room erupted in cheers. Jenn Harris, latimes.com, 25 May 2018 Such moments sum up the charm of Mardi Gras, when fact and fiction, reality and fantasy, alight among familiars and strangers alike. The Masked Observer, AL.com, 26 Jan. 2018 In the books, Ambrose has snake familiars who do not get along with Salem, and also has a cute British accent. Alexis Nedd, Cosmopolitan, 8 Jan. 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective In Horning’s framing, each generation has its own version of a more authentic world (the one familiar to 9-year-old you). Wired, 7 Aug. 2022 The TikTok in question should look pretty familiar to anyone who has been to a DIY show. Brenna Ehrlich, Rolling Stone, 5 Aug. 2022 Did any of these five bad 401(k) habits sound eerily familiar to you? Chris Carosa, Forbes, 1 Aug. 2022 It’s certainly familiar to Parlá, who absorbs the visual signatures of dilapidation into his paintings, murals and sculpture. New York Times, 31 July 2022 The rest of the blend is cinsaut and mourvèdre, two grapes more familiar to fans of Provençal rosés. Dave Mcintyre, Washington Post, 28 July 2022 The rest of the list includes some names more familiar to US consumers, and others that are less recognizable but clearly huge players in the Asian market. Jonah Flicker, Robb Report, 27 July 2022 This struggle should feel surprisingly familiar to many millennials and zoomers who’ve spent their post-college years trying to build careers in a time of massive inflation, stagnant wages, and economic recessions. Sarah Leboeuf, Ars Technica, 21 July 2022 As familiar to everyone as the COVID-causing coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has become over the past two years, feverish research is still trying to parse a lingering puzzle. Stephanie Pappas, Scientific American, 20 July 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of familiar

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for familiar

Adjective and Noun

Middle English familier, from Anglo-French, from Latin familiaris, from familia — see family entry 1

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Time Traveler for familiar

Time Traveler

The first known use of familiar was in the 13th century

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Statistics for familiar

Cite this Entry

“Familiar.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/familiar. Accessed 11 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for familiar

familiar

adjective
fa·​mil·​iar | \ fə-ˈmil-yər How to pronounce familiar (audio) \

Kids Definition of familiar

1 : often seen, heard, or experienced She read us a familiar story.
2 : closely acquainted : intimate familiar friends
3 : having a good knowledge of Parents should be familiar with their children's schools.
4 : informal sense 1 He spoke in a familiar way.
5 : too friendly or bold

More from Merriam-Webster on familiar

Nglish: Translation of familiar for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of familiar for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about familiar

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