1

familiar

noun fa·mil·iar \ fə-ˈmil-yər \

Definition of familiar

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
4 a :one who is well acquainted with something
  • familiars of violence
  • —John Updike
b :one who frequents a place
  • familiars of the embasy
  • —Rebecca West

Examples of familiar in a Sentence

  1. a longtime familiar of the bar, she would most likely have been there on the night in question

  2. with old familiars the normally reserved writer can be quite warm and funny

Recent Examples of familiar from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of familiar


2

familiar

adjective fa·mil·iar \ fə-ˈmil-yər \

Definition of familiar

1 :closely acquainted :intimate
  • a familiar family friend
2 obsolete :affable, sociable
3 a :of or relating to a family
  • remembering past familiar celebrations
(see 1family)
b :frequented by families
  • a familiar resort
4 a :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
5 a :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

familiarly

adverb

familiarness

noun

Examples of familiar in a Sentence

  1. Some authors, such as Richard Rodriguez and Ruben Martinez, will be familiar to media mavens outside the region … —Ray OlsonBooklist15 Oct. 1996
  2. 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 RothReading Myself and Others1975
  3. The essay covers familiar ground.

  4. She has become a familiar figure in the world of politics.

  5. She spoke in a familiar way about her past.

  6. an essay written in a familiar style

  7. a familiar way of addressing someone

  8. They felt the waiter was being overly familiar.

Recent Examples of familiar from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of familiar

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

Synonym Discussion of familiar

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


FAMILIAR Defined for English Language Learners

familiar

adjective

Definition of familiar for English Language Learners

  • : 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 Defined for Kids

familiar

adjective fa·mil·iar \ fə-ˈmil-yər \

Definition of familiar for Students

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 1
  • He spoke in a familiar way.
5 :too friendly or bold


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