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 embasy— 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

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Other Words from familiar

Adjective

familiarly adverb
familiarness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for familiar

Synonyms: Noun

denizen, frequenter, habitué (also habitue), haunter, rat, regular

Synonyms: Adjective

bosom, buddy-buddy, chummy, close, especial, friendly, inseparable, intimate, inward, near, thick, tight

Antonyms: Adjective

distant

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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

For American readers, the accounts of Tad Szulc, Georgie Anne Geyer and Robert Quirk from the 1980s and ’90s may be most familiar. Michael J. Bustamante, Washington Post, "Portrait of a young Castro, drawn from his personal archive," 5 July 2019 Absentee voters tend to skew older — a constituency that likely would have been more familiar and more ideologically aligned with Ms. Katz, said Bruce Gyory, an adjunct professor of political science at the University at Albany. Vivian Wang, New York Times, "The Shocking Final Count in the Queens D.A. Race: What Happened," 4 July 2019 His trio mates, the cellist Jay Campbell and pianist Conrad Tao, are also familiar with haywire schedules; with Campbell in the JACK Quartet and Tao performing, composing, and curating all over the place, neither has any shortage of gigs. Zoë Madonna, BostonGlobe.com, "JCT Trio stuns in Rockport with superb Ives and Dvorák," 3 July 2019 Stories like Selders are all too familiar for Lerone Crayton, director of the Orleans Parish School Board’s Student Hearing Office. nola.com, "New Orleans schools seek better discipline process as expulsions drop but suspensions rise," 27 June 2019 One was a guy who was intimately familiar with being filmed, photographed, analyzed, idolized, ridiculed, and praised: John Lennon. David Gambacorta, Longreads, "Took You By Surprise: John and Paul’s Lost Reunion," 25 June 2019 For the second at-bat, the crowd broke out the chant that used to be so familiar here: Al-bert. Joan Niesen, SI.com, "Albert Pujols's Emotional Return Drums Up Nostalgia in St. Louis," 22 June 2019 But several white potential jurors were also familiar with players in the trial and faced less questioning and no challenge. S.m. | New York, The Economist, "A prosecutor excluded black jurors from a murder trial," 21 June 2019 Two people familiar with the figures told the Times that last year only three of approximately 340 people in that role—about 1% of the total—were black. Marc Bain, Quartz at Work, "Black Americans are the faces of Adidas, but missing from its leadership," 19 June 2019

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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Statistics for familiar

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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 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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