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

For those previously unfamiliar with the Marvel universe character, Cage is a man with superhuman strength and unbreakable skin. Hannah Dylan Pasternak, SELF, "15 Netflix Shows With the Hottest Sex Scenes You Need to Watch," 21 Dec. 2018 Some, like Helly Hansen, are household names, while others have niche cult followings: Klättermusen is apparently huge in Asia, but most were unfamiliar, at least to this American viewer, and that was a good thing. Laird Borrelli-persson, Vogue, "Scandinavian Man Stages a Non-Fashion Fashion Show in Stockholm," 6 Feb. 2019 Service dogs are trained to remain calm in crowds and unfamiliar terrain, whereas emotional support dogs don’t need to meet any set standards. Aditi Shrikant, Vox, "Delta is now restricting emotional support animals on flights. This could be a good thing.," 11 Dec. 2018 Although developed in 1903, the notion of double consciousness isn’t unfamiliar to me or other Black people in America today. Alexis Jones, Marie Claire, "'The Hate U Give’ Is the Movie Version of Growing Up Black in America," 3 Oct. 2018 To wit: For those unfamiliar with this particular meme format, this is a recreation of a scene from Die Hard in the style of the Bayeux Tapestry. Lee Hutchinson, Ars Technica, "Ars Christmas downtime special: four movies retold as medieval tales," 26 Dec. 2018 Those unfamiliar with such farms might seek out artificial trees. Nadra Nittle, Vox, "The cost of real Christmas trees is on the rise — thanks to millennials," 5 Dec. 2018 In this charming little reverie of a book, inspiration springs from our unguarded confrontations with the unfamiliar. Sam Sacks, WSJ, "Fiction: A Critical Mass of Absurdist Misapprehensions," 30 Nov. 2018 When readers are unfamiliar with the old-school characters and local news stories that satirical newspapers send up, humor sites that specialize in fake news headlines aren’t reading as funny. Catherine Cusick, Longreads, "Area Man Knows All About Fake News," 28 Mar. 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

21 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for unfamiliar

The first known use of unfamiliar was in 1594

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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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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).


an act or instance of returning to life

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