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 withfamiliar 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

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun John Obi Mikel, a Nigerian familiar for his years with Chelsea, left another Turkish team, Trabzonspor, this week. Victor Mather, New York Times, "What to Watch: How About Cherry-Pit Spitting or Australian Rules Football?," 19 Mar. 2020 During the Salem witch hunts, common folklore said that witches transformed into their familiars (black cats). Lisa Stardust, Teen Vogue, "4 Halloween Myths Dispelled by a Witch," 22 Oct. 2019 For Fringe familiars, there are a few changes for 2019, Bentley says. Kathy Berdan, Twin Cities, "Fringe elements: What you should know for the 11-day performing arts fest," 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, "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 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective For the roughly 100 fans who came to North Marion High School on Saturday, familiar sounds of summer met them at the gate. oregonlive, "Wild Wild West League opening night brings live team sports back to Oregon," 12 July 2020 TikTok is considering a number of locations for a global base, the person familiar with the plans said, asking not to be named discussing information that’s not public. Shelly Banjo, Fortune, "TikTok considers corporate structure changes in an effort to distance itself from China," 9 July 2020 While the company declined to comment on the job posting, a person familiar... Laura Forman, WSJ, "Investors, Don’t Subscribe to Every Twitter Rumor," 9 July 2020 He was not expected to disclose information about the investigations into Trump's circle, but rather to discuss only his removal, according to a person familiar with the proceeding who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss it. Lisa Mascaro, Anchorage Daily News, "Ousted federal prosecutor in New York tells panel that Barr ‘urged’ him to resign," 9 July 2020 GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi, partners developing a potential coronavirus vaccine, are discussing a 500 million pound ($620 million) deal to supply the UK government with the shot, assuming it’s successful, said a person familiar with the matter. BostonGlobe.com, "Britain negotiates vaccine deal," 6 July 2020 Calming music, white noise or television can be used to provide comfortable, familiar sounds. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, "Pets and fireworks: how to keep your animals calm and safe on July 4," 3 July 2020 That figure was confirmed by a person familiar with the UAW, who declined to be named because there was no authorization to speak. Jamie L. Lareau, Detroit Free Press, "The UAW is on alert as cases of coronavirus surge at two big GM plants," 3 July 2020 The league is considering asking fans to sign a waiver and wear masks, according to a person familiar with those conversations. CBS News, "NFL to play "Black anthem" before all Week 1 games, reports say," 3 July 2020

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

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 8 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for familiar

familiar

adjective
How to pronounce familiar (audio)

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 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

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Comments on familiar

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