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 What appears to await us is a twenty-first-century version of a historical process familiar from the nineteenth: Longstanding traditions are undermined when only part of a country is able to take advantage of new technological possibilities. Christopher Caldwell, The New Republic, "The Biden Popular Front Is Doomed to Unravel," 23 Nov. 2020 Granted, Alan Ball’s road film, about the coming-out of a gay Southern man in the 1970s, explores fairly familiar territory. Mike Scott, NOLA.com, "Gifts for the whole family: 10 potential gems to watch during this holiday movie season," 23 Nov. 2020 The space inside a television is familiar yet alien, like one of those dreams of being in your house but the house isn’t your house. David Gilbert, The New Yorker, "Preparing to Spin the Wheel of Fortune," 23 Nov. 2020 The Mavericks’ latest move in free agency in a familiar one. Callie Caplan, Dallas News, "Willie Cauley-Stein agrees to two-year deal to return to Mavs, fortify depth behind Kristaps Porzingis," 22 Nov. 2020 The Washington Team, headed by owner Danny Snyder, has made the familiar case that calling the Team the Redskins was anything but a pejorative. Paul Daugherty, The Enquirer, "Paul Daugherty: We're missing intent, context in Washington Football Team name debate," 22 Nov. 2020 But having grown up near Toronto, Campbell entered the game already familiar with making history this season. Jeff Miller, Los Angeles Times, "Tevaughn Campbell scores TD, stops another to save Chargers’ win," 22 Nov. 2020 But what looks like a familiar environmental protest resonates beyond the wildlands of Hesse, especially for Germany’s Greens. The Economist, "Some activists are running out of patience with Germany’s Green Party," 21 Nov. 2020 Then there are the more sobering experiences, like navigating grief from the familiar cycle of losing friends and family to death and lengthy jail sentences. Martine Thompson, Bon Appétit, "Rapper Hugh Augustine’s Vegan Food Is a Love Letter to His L.A. Community," 21 Nov. 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 1 Dec. 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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