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 unfamiliarity (audio) , -​ˌmi-​lē-​ˈyer-​ , -​ˈya-​rə-​ \ noun
unfamiliarly \ ˌən-​fə-​ˈmil-​yər-​lē How to pronounce unfamiliarly (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 Braintree’s 10-10 record would be unfamiliar to previous teams — but a 54-48 victory over No. Greg Levinsky, BostonGlobe.com, "Natick’s Emily Gustus relishes being back on the basketball court after recovering from her fifth concussion," 20 Feb. 2020 Like many organizations prone to recency bias, the NSMA has been forced to play catch-up on honoring luminaries unfamiliar to its younger members. Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "'He was a real pro': Late UK basketball voice Cawood Ledford gets his due, long overdue," 18 Jan. 2020 In Vitale’s version, a cat and its owner spent two minutes in a room unfamiliar to the animal, then was left alone for two minutes, followed by the return of the owner and another two minutes of reunion. oregonlive, "Your cat probably loves you, Oregon State study says," 24 Sep. 2019 If those lists are too unfamiliar to the public, ratings slide. Carl Wilson, Billboard, "Why the Grammys' Populism Makes Sense -- And Is Ultimately a Strength," 19 Sep. 2019 The beliefs had been unfamiliar to Wu, who discussed them with other Asian-Americans in preparation for shooting. Jiayang Fan, The New Yorker, "Constance Wu’s Hollywood Destiny," 16 Sep. 2019 The drivetrain options will also be a little unfamiliar to fans of the venerable and ancient Landy. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "The 2020 Land Rover Defender is a 21st century take on a 4×4 icon," 12 Sep. 2019 Chip Bleepin’ Kelly has made history, all right, taking the Bruins to depths unfamiliar to even one of the country’s most underachieving football programs. Dylan Hernandez, Los Angeles Times, "Column: Under Chip Kelly, UCLA is making the wrong kind of history," 7 Sep. 2019 Jessica Hill/Associated Press STORRS, Conn. — The postgame tableau at Gampel Pavilion, of a disappointed Geno Auriemma analyzing what went wrong, was unfamiliar. Howard Megdal, New York Times, "Oregon Women Rout UConn at Home: ‘They’re Just Too Good’," 4 Feb. 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

24 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Unfamiliar.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unfamiliar. Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for unfamiliar


How to pronounce unfamiliar (audio)

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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