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 He was named 2020 Tiger of the Year, so leading his teammates with his on-field performance isn't unfamiliar. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, "How Jeimer Candelario is carrying empty Detroit Tigers offense through losses," 1 May 2021 But people are doing more than just surviving, and in terms of the African-American tradition, that isn’t unfamiliar. Time, "12 Questions for Kevin Young, Poet and the New Director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture," 12 Mar. 2021 The venue was unfamiliar, the opponents (The Bahamas and Mexico) unimposing, but for the first time in years, Thomas looked like himself: fluid, joyful, pain-free. Joe Freeman, oregonlive, "More Trail Blazers join All-Star Game festivities, impact of fan-less arenas, bad contracts, another COVID-19 cancellation, aging gracefully: NBA news and notes," 1 Mar. 2021 After all, most of us are so used to having doctors judge and shame us for our weight that the concept of it entitling me to something beneficial feels entirely unfamiliar. Emma Specter, Vogue, "Millions Of Americans Qualify For the COVID-19 Vaccine Based On BMI. Why Should We Apologize For It?," 23 Feb. 2021 Before long, the words turn into dishes, which appear on the table, entirely fresh and exciting, and yet, to my Ashkenazi palate, not entirely unfamiliar. Washington Post, "Marinate Camembert, Czech-style, for your next low-effort snack," 30 Dec. 2020 Indian spiritual teachings were not entirely unfamiliar to Americans when Yogananda arrived in 1920. Deborah Netburn, Los Angeles Times, "If you practice yoga, thank this man who came to the U.S. 100 years ago," 19 Nov. 2020 More than that, though, the Portuguese were carrying on their wooden caravels an entirely unfamiliar culture from those the Chinese had previously met. Michael Schuman, The Atlantic, "When China Met the West," 6 June 2020 As a first-generation American, Mattaka figured out from a young age how to independently navigate an academic world with which her parents were unfamiliar. Washington Post, "Baltimore County teens start mentorship program," 25 Apr. 2021

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

11 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Unfamiliar.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unfamiliar. Accessed 15 May. 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.

Comments on unfamiliar

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