Definition of familiarity in English:



mass noun
  • 1Close acquaintance with or knowledge of something.

    ‘his familiarity with the works of Thomas Hardy’
    • ‘It may sound simple enough, but familiarity with the gear and proficiency in these basic skills is imperative when you are on top of a mountain in a howling gale.’
    • ‘Knowledge of the signaling mechanism and familiarity with signal-related functions help one write programs more efficiently.’
    • ‘Some background familiarity with philosophy is assumed, but no detailed knowledge of texts or terminology.’
    • ‘Their ability to conduct surprise raids presupposed close familiarity with currents, beaches, and locations of population centres.’
    • ‘For one thing, the Wachowski brothers have a knowledge and familiarity with a number of ideas, concepts and philosophies that play an important part in the Matrix films.’
    • ‘Subgroup analyses, however, indicated variation among respondents with respect to knowledge and familiarity with legumes.’
    • ‘Access, knowledge and familiarity with technology is still dividing the haves from the have-nots in an increasingly unequal world.’
    • ‘The stock of knowledge refers to a student's familiarity with the content and language of economics prior to entering a university course.’
    • ‘Very few Japanese people ever extend their knowledge of Bulgaria beyond familiarity with its yoghurt, which has become part of the national cuisine in Japan.’
    • ‘The South and East courses always provide a challenge and increasing familiarity with the layout provides the knowledge necessary for good course management and good scores.’
    • ‘The survey showed that the 456 dietitians who responded had low knowledge of regulatory processes and familiarity with new food products of biotechnology.’
    • ‘At the same time, he conducts his analysis with a dispassionate respect that evidences both his years of familiarity with Eritrea and the maturity of his knowledge.’
    • ‘Familiarity with new technology increased acceptance, and this familiarity can be learned locally or taught during an experiment.’
    • ‘They found no relationship between the rate of referral and physicians' knowledge, beliefs and familiarity with the effects of alternative therapies.’
    • ‘The author is at her best when she showcases her extensive knowledge of black film history and her keen familiarity with technical and other aspects of film making in a variety of genres.’
    • ‘After years of familiarity with her work, I'm convinced that exact knowledge of the system makes little difference in appreciating the paintings.’
    • ‘They are using the experience to gain familiarity with the technology, enter new markets, and meet new clients.’
    • ‘Job seekers' experience and their familiarity with the Chinese market were the focal issues for headhunters.’
    • ‘Skinner believes there's no way you can become a VA without several years of office experience and considerable familiarity with the necessary technology.’
    • ‘Knowledge and familiarity with the avenues of HfV transmission may mobilize nurses who question their ability or role in thwarting the virus and disease.’
    acquaintance with, acquaintanceship with, awareness of, experience of, insight into, conversancy with, conversance with
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    1. 1.1 The quality of being well known from long or close association.
      ‘the reassuring familiarity of his parents' home’
      • ‘From the viewpoint of the cinephile, the sense of difference is inextricable from the sensation of discovery; the strangeness, the seeming lack of ties to our own familiarities, contributes to the impact.’
      • ‘Saint-Exupéry steers the aircraft and dreams of the calming familiarities of earth.’
      • ‘The measure of a joke's effectiveness is equal to the quality of its writing and delivery multiplied by the familiarity of its subject.’
      • ‘It's reminiscent of Crash, but the game plays in such a massive, interactive, organic and (dare I say it) perfect way that any familiarities are a welcome reassurance, not a downfall on the developer's part.’
      • ‘St. John seems very dissatisfied and distrustful of Jane's desire for sensual comfort and calm in household familiarities to come, and blood relations.’
      • ‘To emigrate might mean abandoning the old climbing oak, the hearth, relatives, and childhood friends-all the small town familiarities.’
      • ‘They effectively harness the familiarity of well-know ditties to send up celebrity culture.’
      • ‘The towers look like beacons in the stormy night, still strangely reassuring in their solidity and familiarity.’
      ordinariness, customariness, normality, conventionality
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  • 2Relaxed friendliness or intimacy between people.

    ‘familiarity allows us to give each other nicknames’
    • ‘Love is built on friendship and familiarity and a trust that cannot come instantaneously.’
    • ‘It extends to insights that come only from intimate familiarity with them, allowing connections unseen by others to be recognized and used for productive purposes.’
    • ‘I'm not sure he recognised me at first but when I introduced myself he greeted me with the familiarity of a family friend.’
    • ‘It has become known as a lively venue, particularly in the evenings and at weekends and offers a mixture of friendliness and familiarity to its many patrons.’
    • ‘It provides a sense of familiarity and friendliness which is hard to dismiss.’
    • ‘It takes time - years - to build credibility and a relaxed familiarity.’
    • ‘Much of this cultural work happened at the level of emotional affinity and familiarity.’
    • ‘You lost three people who provided not only closeness and familiarity but most likely emotional support.’
    • ‘He allows no familiarity from them, forbidding them to address him in the familiar form of ‘you’ in German.’
    • ‘The effect of all this familiarity is to allow us to concentrate on the various characters and their interactions.’
    • ‘On some level I suppose there's a suggestion of friendship and familiarity there that could be seen as flattering.’
    • ‘See it once and it will haunt your memory with the pleasant familiarity of an old friend.’
    • ‘Gabonese often avoid showing too much familiarity with a new acquaintance so that they won't appear disrespectful.’
    • ‘Lee nudged my ribs with her elbow playfully, with a friendly familiarity that surprised me.’
    • ‘I have referred to these simply to note the closeness and familiarity which existed between the two men at the time. Mr Samant then proceeded to contact Lawrence Jones.’
    • ‘Correlations between perceptions of physical resemblance and social closeness and familiarity were positive and statistically significant.’
    • ‘In fact, familiarity through friendship or kinship tends to expand trust that leads to cooperation only under certain conditions.’
    • ‘Harriman Nelson allowed his old friend the freedom of familiarity in his cabin.’
    informality, casualness, ease, comfortableness, friendliness, lack of ceremony, lack of restraint, lack of reserve, naturalness, simplicity
    closeness, intimacy, attachment, affinity, friendliness, friendship, amity
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    1. 2.1 Inappropriate informality or intimacy.
      ‘the unnecessary familiarity made me dislike him at once’
      • ‘We need look no further than the popular TV show "The Office" to see that too much personal fraternization and familiarity will lead to employee contempt, regardless of the talent or ineptitude of the manager.’
      • ‘In early May or June 2001, the North Carolina Department of Correction began a formal misconduct investigation into allegations of inappropriate interaction/undue familiarity between correctional staff and inmates at the prison.’
      overfamiliarity, presumption, presumptuousness, forwardness, boldness, audacity, cheek, impudence, impertinence, intrusiveness, disrespect, disrespectfulness
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  • familiarity breeds contempt

    • proverb Extensive knowledge of or close association with someone or something leads to a loss of respect for them or it.

      • ‘As the saying goes, familiarity breeds contempt, and the family that stays together eventually gets on each others’ nerves!’
      • ‘They say familiarity breeds contempt and I can certainly vouch for that when it comes to door-to-door salesmen.’
      • ‘But familiarity breeds contempt among wrestling fans, who want to know what a wrestler has done for them lately.’
      • ‘Of course familiarity breeds contempt - which may be why so many Scots rarely get to grips with their capital.’
      • ‘I think that's part of the appeal outside of this country and it might be part of the reason people turned away from us within this country, because familiarity breeds contempt.’


Middle English (in the senses ‘close relationship’ and ‘sexual intimacy’): via Old French from Latin familiaritas, from familiaris ‘familiar, intimate’ (see familiar).