un·​fa·​mil·​iar | \ ˌən-fə-ˈmil-yər \

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 , -​ˌmi-​lē-​ˈyer-​, -​ˈya-​rə-​ \ noun
unfamiliarly \ ˌən-​fə-​ˈmil-​yər-​lē \ 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

That should help riders traveling in unfamiliar areas. Tom Krisher, chicagotribune.com, "Uber to up its background checks for drivers," 12 Apr. 2018 The sheriff's office is urging residents to stash extra clothing in their cars and to stay on main roads in unfamiliar areas. Anna Marum, OregonLive.com, "Springfield woman dies seeking help for mother-in-law after car crash," 16 Jan. 2018 The family of Scott Lisinicchia released a statement through a lawyer shortly after another attorney representing the limousine company, Prestige Limousine, said the driver might have been unfamiliar with the rural road. Michael Hill, The Seattle Times, "Limo driver’s family believes he was given an unsafe vehicle," 10 Oct. 2018 Into this unfamiliar territory stepped a fresh, exciting England team, one stripped of the unwarranted swagger of its predecessors and coached by a fundamentally decent, approachable man. Rory Smith, New York Times, "Croatia Digs Deeper, Burying England’s World Cup Dreams," 12 July 2018 For many fans of food and football, a World Cup in Russia is unfamiliar territory. James Ellingworth, Fox News, "Dining Russian-style at the World Cup," 7 June 2018 The Ducks, meanwhile, find themselves in unfamiliar territory after Day 1 of the men's competition, scoreless and without many opportunities to make up ground when the men's part of the meet concludes on Friday. Tim Brown, OregonLive.com, "MLB draft: Parker Kelly of Oregon Ducks selected by St. Louis Cardinals, could join his brother Carson in big leagues," 6 June 2018 That absence is unfamiliar territory for Moran after previous stints as the offensive coordinator at Maryland and Loyola Maryland. Edward Lee, baltimoresun.com, "Review & preview: UMBC men’s lacrosse," 4 June 2018 The half-empty part: The Cardinals are in unfamiliar territory as a No. 2 seed and not hosting a regional for the first time since 2012. Randy Rosetta, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville baseball faces challenge of playing away for NCAA tourney," 31 May 2018

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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Statistics for unfamiliar

Last Updated

13 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for unfamiliar

The first known use of unfamiliar was in 1594

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English Language Learners Definition of unfamiliar

: not frequently seen, heard, or experienced


un·​fa·​mil·​iar | \ ˌən-fə-ˈmil-yər \

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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Comments on unfamiliar

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


tremendous in size, volume, or degree

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