un·​fa·​mil·​iar | \ ˌən-fə-ˈmil-yər How to pronounce unfamiliar (audio) \

Definition of unfamiliar

: not familiar:
a : not well-known : strange an unfamiliar place
b : not well acquainted unfamiliar with the subject

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Other Words from unfamiliar

unfamiliarity \ ˌən-​fə-​ˌmil-​ˈyer-​ə-​tē How to pronounce unfamiliar (audio) , -​ˌmi-​lē-​ˈyer-​ , -​ˈya-​rə-​ \ noun
unfamiliarly \ ˌən-​fə-​ˈmil-​yər-​lē How to pronounce unfamiliar (audio) \ adverb

Examples of unfamiliar in a Sentence

He gets nervous when he is in unfamiliar surroundings. The book is full of unfamiliar words.
Recent Examples on the Web Bost said teachers and students are unfamiliar with the new test, and so giving it would not provide reliable data that could be compared to prior years. Liz Bowie, baltimoresun.com, "Maryland schools chief recommends statewide testing resume this spring, with reduced exams," 22 Feb. 2021 But many motorists, especially those in the southern US, may be unfamiliar with navigating through sleet or black ice. Alaa Elassar, CNN, "Here's how to drive safely on ice and snow," 20 Feb. 2021 Many ice anglers may be unfamiliar with this lure, but the Craigi is one of the best ice fishing lures for trout. Mark Modoski, Field & Stream, "The 20 Best Ice Fishing Lures Ever," 25 Jan. 2021 Sadly, far too many SSA agents are unfamiliar with how these rules work. Tom Margenau, Dallas News, "Turning full retirement age in 2021? Consider filing for benefits in January," 17 Jan. 2021 For a player who has started every game of his 111-game career, watching rather than playing is unfamiliar. oregonlive, "Oregon State shows it is far deeper than Ethan Thompson as Beavers top Washington State 68-66 in battle of wills," 6 Feb. 2021 For that reason, working together is unfamiliar territory for refiners and biofuel producers. Abby Smith, Washington Examiner, "Oil refining lobby sees opportunity to work with Biden on climate and trade," 14 Jan. 2021 But the current three-game slide is not unfamiliar territory. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "No. 18 Michigan State basketball at Nebraska: Scouting report, prediction," 1 Jan. 2021 In the beginning, the conventions of auctions may be unfamiliar. Sarah Karnasiewicz, WSJ, "The Rich Rewards of Online Furniture Auctions, and How to Get Started," 11 Dec. 2020

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

1594, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for unfamiliar

Time Traveler

The first known use of unfamiliar was in 1594

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Statistics for unfamiliar

Last Updated

28 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Unfamiliar.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unfamiliar. Accessed 6 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for unfamiliar



English Language Learners Definition of unfamiliar

: not frequently seen, heard, or experienced


un·​fa·​mil·​iar | \ ˌən-fə-ˈmil-yər How to pronounce unfamiliar (audio) \

Kids Definition of unfamiliar

1 : not well-known : strange an unfamiliar sight
2 : lacking good knowledge of something I'm unfamiliar with this subject.

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