fa·​mil·​iar·​i·​ty | \fə-ˌmi-lē-ˈ(y)er-ə-tē, -ˈ(y)a-rə-;-ˌmil-ˈyer-, -ˌmil-ˈya-rə-\
plural familiarities

Definition of familiarity 

1a : the quality or state of being familiar

b : a state of close relationship : intimacy

2a : absence of ceremony : informality

b : an unduly informal act or expression : impropriety

c : a sexual liberty

3 : close acquaintance with something

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Synonyms & Antonyms for familiarity


belonging, chumminess, closeness, inseparability, intimacy, nearness



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Examples of familiarity in a Sentence

He spoke to everyone with the easy familiarity of an old friend. the elderly couple enjoys a familiarity that is the result of many years of happy marriage

Recent Examples on the Web

Anyone with a passing familiarity with Italian cinema knows its artistic reputation, and Suspiria (2018) pays homage to that kind of visually stunning, edge-pushing filmmaking whenever possible. Nathan Mattise, Ars Technica, "Suspiria and Border offer two very different tales of otherworldly creatures," 26 Oct. 2018 The familiarity is part of what makes the whole thing work. Bryan Bishop, The Verge, "Netflix’s Haunting of Hill House is like This Is Us wrapped in a gothic ghost story," 28 Sep. 2018 One of the most chilling aspects of the Trump presidency, for anyone with a baseline familiarity with history, is the way his rhetoric has whipped up crowds at his rallies. Zack Beauchamp, Vox, "Trump approvingly tweets video of his rally crowd harassing a journalist," 1 Aug. 2018 If familiarity breeds contempt, then the Phillies and Braves should pretty much hate each other by now. Ed Barkowitz, Philly.com, "Nick Pivetta, Phillies set for key series against Braves," 21 May 2018 Epstein’s easy familiarity with the treasures of Western culture is, in fact, a defining signature of his essays. Danny Heitman, The Christian Science Monitor, "'The Ideal of Culture' showcases Joseph Epstein’s familiar ease with the treasures of Western culture," 8 May 2018 But for both West and Giuliani, familiarity bred recklessness. Lorraine Ali, latimes.com, "Kanye West and Rudy Giuliani: The mouths that recklessly roared," 5 May 2018 Teams play each other repeatedly for several games over short periods, and familiarity during these series often breeds contempt. Michael Smolens, sandiegouniontribune.com, "They went to emotionally charged political events, and got all civil about it," 2 May 2018 Anyone with a passing familiarity with the Marvel Cinematic Universe knows that these movies, no matter who the stars are, typically end with a strikingly animated series of end credits. Josh Spiegel, The Hollywood Reporter, "Why 'Avengers: Infinity War' May Feel Unsatisfying," 28 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'familiarity.' 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 familiarity

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Statistics for familiarity

Last Updated

10 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for familiarity

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

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More Definitions for familiarity



English Language Learners Definition of familiarity

: the state of being familiar with something : the state of having knowledge about something

: a friendly and informal way of acting or talking


fa·​mil·​iar·​i·​ty | \fə-ˌmil-ˈyer-ə-tē, -ˌmil-ē-ˈer-\
plural familiarities

Kids Definition of familiarity

1 : close friendship : intimacy

2 : good knowledge of something His familiarity with the trail was a big advantage to us.

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Comments on familiarity

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


a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

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