familiar

noun
fa·mil·iar | \fə-ˈmil-yər \

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 embasy— Rebecca West

familiar

adjective
fa·mil·iar | \fə-ˈmil-yər \

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

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Other Words from familiar

Adjective

familiarly adverb
familiarness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for familiar

Synonyms: Noun

alter ego, amigo, buddy, chum, compadre, comrade, confidant, confidante, crony, friend, intimate, pal

Synonyms: Adjective

bold, forward, free, immodest, overfamiliar, presuming, presumptuous

Antonyms: Noun

enemy, foe

Antonyms: Adjective

modest, unassuming

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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, "Let’s Talk about Hereditary’s Insane Ending," 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, "Viva Thai Elvis: One of dozens could be performing at your local restaurant," 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, "The Masked Observer discovers a silver tongue and sequins are the keys to a night of delight," 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, "This Is What You Can Expect From Sabrina's Riverdale Spinoff, Based on the Comic Book," 8 Jan. 2018 And while homemade is certainly the best, there are also some very good brands out there, from the old familiars to the newly invented. Kathleen Purvis, charlotteobserver, "Here’s your best party-food secret weapon (and our favorite 5 brands)," 19 Dec. 2017 Contrary to appearances, however, the three spooky women (Brianna Rodriguez, Brittany Sims and Julie Ann Valdez) explain that they’re not the witches at all but their familiars — their animal companions, or rather the spirits that take those forms. Sam Hurwitt, The Mercury News, "Review: ‘Escape Velocity’ zips through themes of feminism," 23 Feb. 2017 The new study suggests that brown rats were slower to spread around the globe than our other familiars, the black rat and the house mouse. Carl Zimmer, New York Times, "How the Brown Rat Conquered New York City (and Every Other One, Too)," 27 Oct. 2016

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Friendships between women rely, often, on the unsayable—the secret comparisons, the petty jealousies, the familiar patterns of behavior. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "The Love Story of Debbie and Ruth," 10 July 2018 Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters are familiar names and local shoppers will recognize Revelry Boutique Gallery, 742 E. Market St., and Edenside Gallery, 1422 Bardstown Road. Kirby Adams, The Courier-Journal, "These one-of-a-kind textiles are empowering Louisville women," 13 July 2018 Half of voters are familiar with Roe v. Wade (50 percent), and those voters are more likely to want to keep Roe in place (69 percent) than overturn it (27 percent). Dana Blanton, Fox News, "Fox News Poll: Jury's out on Kavanaugh, voters want Senate vote before midterms," 13 July 2018 For anyone who’s ever struggled with their mental health, this feeling is familiar. Paige Williams, Billboard, "Twenty One Pilots' 'Trench': Decoding the Clues They've Left About Their New Album," 12 July 2018 Like Sonia and other veterans, Kelly is familiar with aspects of the world that the general public rarely experiences, something the military has in common with agriculture. Tracy Saelinger, Woman's Day, "Gardening Led This Veteran to a New Life of Hope and Healing," 11 July 2018 Mary Benton, who owns a sprawling 83-acre property in Pottstown, is familiar with the grind of farm life. Katie Park, Philly.com, "Like your organic food? Pennsylvania's young farmers are growing it," 11 July 2018 Glen Casel, who has lived along Whitcomb Drive for about four years, is familiar with keeping an eye on St. Johns water levels. Martin E. Comas, OrlandoSentinel.com, "East Seminole County residents keep nervous eye on rising St. Johns," 9 July 2018 The reasons for the exodus from Yoro, which lies about 120 miles north of the capital, Tegucigalpa, are familiar throughout the region. Jim Wyss, miamiherald, "U.S. immigration hard-line spurs some would-be migrants in Honduras to think twice," 8 July 2018

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.

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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

Noun

see familiar entry 2

Adjective

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

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Learn More about familiar

Phrases Related to familiar

familiar face

familiar ground

familiar with

Statistics for familiar

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for familiar

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

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More Definitions for familiar

familiar

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of familiar

: frequently seen, heard, or experienced

—used to say that something is easy for you to recognize because you have seen, heard, or experienced it many times in the past

: possibly known but not clearly remembered

familiar

adjective
fa·mil·iar | \fə-ˈmil-yər \

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

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Comments on familiar

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

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