Definition of familiar in US English:

familiar

adjective

  • 1Well known from long or close association.

    ‘their faces will be familiar to many of you’
    ‘a familiar voice’
    • ‘He had copper-brownish red very curly hair, and for a second he looked familiar, but I shook my head.’
    • ‘He thought his voice sounded familiar, and it was probably one of his friends.’
    • ‘The band sounded familiar, he vaguely remembered a friend telling him about them a while ago.’
    • ‘Phil's motives and experience sounds very familiar.’
    • ‘His distinctive voice has long been familiar to Chinese audiences.’
    • ‘Artexpo is also filled with annual happenings and familiar faces that make the show complete.’
    • ‘Their brother Alan is the chief P.A. announcer at Old Trafford and his voice is familiar to many regulars who visit the famous ground.’
    • ‘Thinking that the voice sounded somehow familiar to me, I tried to place it.’
    • ‘The voice sounded faintly familiar to Draica but she quickly pushed the thought of her mind and focused on staying hidden.’
    • ‘Oddly, he looked familiar and with a closer inspection she realized who it was.’
    • ‘At this stage of the game, your manner should indicate to us that you will be a reassuringly familiar experience.’
    • ‘When he pulled away, his father laughed down at him and spoke in the gruff-yet-gentle voice that was so familiar to his ears.’
    • ‘The guy in charge of leadership is sitting at his desk and I think for a second that he looks familiar.’
    • ‘He had visited them before and there were the usual familiar faces, but on this occasion what he experienced left him shaken.’
    • ‘It's a comfortable environment of known quantities, familiar faces, and common verbal shorthand.’
    • ‘Suddenly I was experiencing familiar taste sensations, so different from the interesting but unfamiliar flavours of the orient.’
    • ‘For some strange reason, the voice was familiar to Jonathon.’
    • ‘His sarcastic voice sounds vaguely familiar to Rena, and she wishes Jem would step aside so she can get a better look.’
    • ‘Another local man whose voice is so familiar to listeners is news presenter Sen O'Ciobhn who has been with the station since its foundation.’
    • ‘It can be comforting to encounter the familiar faces of cats and dogs and farm animals in foreign lands.’
    known about, well known
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    1. 1.1 Often encountered or experienced; common.
      ‘the situation was all too familiar’
      • ‘Surely one could expect no surprises from a substance so common and so familiar.’
      • ‘Chances are that you found the sentence confusing, even though all the words are common and familiar.’
      • ‘A new minister faces a familiar problem - the annual A&E crisis - but is she ready to prescribe radical treatment?’
      • ‘This focus on foliage gives the scenteds little in common with the familiar bedding geranium and its big red flowers.’
      • ‘For people born in Britain before the Second World War, child deaths - mainly from infectious diseases - were a familiar experience.’
      • ‘Movies don't just offer us an escape, but reflect our realities and familiar experiences.’
      • ‘In British Columbia, L. disjunctus is the more common, widespread and familiar species.’
      • ‘In fats the alcohol is glycerol, more familiar under its common name of glycerine.’
      • ‘These forms of unease are familiar once we have encountered the problem of free will through the hypothesis of determinism.’
      • ‘Exhibitions celebrating the art of the goldsmith are a familiar feature of the annual programme at Goldsmiths' Hall.’
      • ‘But a brush with the new authorities can mean a familiar encounter over identity cards and threats.’
      • ‘Well if you were vindicating your right of exclusive possession of the premises, you are in a very familiar common law area.’
      • ‘These situations have become familiar and common to most of us.’
      • ‘Take this familiar experience: spell a word wrongly in Microsoft Word and you see a wavy red underline appear under the word.’
      • ‘These kinds of killings that we witness and hear about have become all too familiar and frequent for us to either exhibit our emotions or even react in any way.’
      • ‘The plight of Mountain Rivera is a common tragedy, repeated in familiar ways time and time again.’
      • ‘The most familiar, and second strongest, force described in the standard model is electromagnetism.’
      • ‘The current debate around common factors feels quite familiar.’
      • ‘Now but if cows are familiar and common you'd think we'd know what they eat especially if we eat them or drink their milk.’
      • ‘University education is a process which ought to take you beyond the world of familiar experience.’
      well known, known, recognized, accustomed
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    2. 1.2familiar withpredicative Having a good knowledge of.
      ‘ensure that you are familiar with the heating controls’
      • ‘She has a sister here and is familiar with most of the hangouts in the twin cities.’
      • ‘So that there is the use of language by the Parliament which engages concepts with which the common law is familiar.’
      • ‘The inquest failed to discover why he had been on the road at that time, or whether he was familiar with it.’
      • ‘Readers familiar with Highland stores will know that the choice tends to be fairly limited.’
      • ‘I do not know whether you are familiar with the review that was conducted by him?’
      • ‘Most of my driving is done locally, but it is easy for someone not familiar with a particular road to miss a sign.’
      • ‘Veteran aid workers like Endris are all too familiar with the early warning signs of famine.’
      • ‘Belle de Jour is sometimes fascinating because it reveals a life which not all of us are familiar with.’
      • ‘Our goal is to inspire those who are already familiar with what we believe and inform those who are not.’
      • ‘You might also be familiar with the green lit figure that shows it's safe to cross the road.’
      • ‘Most people will be familiar with the feeling that once one has seen one Roman ruin one might as well have seen the lot.’
      • ‘It adds to the enjoyment if you are familiar with this type of story, and I admit you might be a bit lost without it.’
      • ‘Many will be familiar with the sight of crocosmia in the southwest of Ireland.’
      • ‘Apologies to any readers who are not familiar with the geography of Aberdeen's suburbs.’
      • ‘It is amazing how we can all be so familiar with something and not know its history or its origin.’
      • ‘If you have the time and are familiar with any of these names I would like to hear from you.’
      • ‘They are guided through the process until they are familiar with it and can go on to start making their own lunch.’
      • ‘We are really concentrating on him playing the new stuff that he is not as familiar with.’
      • ‘Not all of us appeared to be terribly familiar with anywhere outside the city centre, either.’
      • ‘Even to those familiar with the story, the sufferings of the navy make shocking reading.’
      • ‘His work on the roads made him familiar with many in the villages around this region.’
      acquainted with, conversant with, versed in, informed about, knowledgeable about, well informed about, instructed in, skilled in, proficient in
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  • 2In close friendship; intimate.

    ‘she had not realized they were on such familiar terms’
    • ‘The artist clearly was on familiar terms with this patron and benefactor and portrayed him a number of times.’
    • ‘It cost him most of his white friends at a time when it was difficult to be accepted on familiar terms by Africans.’
    • ‘Ian flushed happily with the familiar term of endearment from his father-in-law, but then continued seriously.’
    • ‘We're on familiar terms with all but one of the Founding Fathers.’
    • ‘Charlotte frowned upon hearing Emma refer to Darcy with such a familiar term, almost jumping up from her position on her bed.’
    • ‘Everyone knew one another and addressed each other in familiar terms.’
    • ‘I did know, by hearsay, that she was on familiar terms with the exile court.’
    • ‘A lump formed in Lexus' throat, as he watched his oldest, and most familiar confidante, and friend, slip away.’
    • ‘Everson dropped the usual ‘Humbly report Your Levity’ and spoke to the wizard in very familiar terms.’
    • ‘I was a little taken aback by her use of the familiar term but I recovered quickly.’
    • ‘They were both regulars of the bar, and on familiar terms with Julian.’
    • ‘In real life it is true that Brecht was on familiar terms and conducted political discussions with Harich.’
    • ‘The old man was on familiar terms with Matusoka Tamaki.’
    close, intimate, dear, near, confidential, bosom
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    1. 2.1 Informal to an inappropriate degree.
      • ‘I'm glad I read everyone else's reviews about the over familiar waiters, because I had a hard time convincing my boyfriend I hadn't been before when on my first time there the waiter came over, put his arm round me and said it was great to see me again.’
      • ‘Personally, I think he's a bit too familiar and a little too "nice" with all his happy hours and friendliness. But it works for him so far.’
      • ‘There is no room for your overly familiar, glaringly inappropriate questions.’
      overfamiliar, unduly familiar, over-free, presumptuous, disrespectful, forward, bold, impudent, impertinent, intrusive
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noun

  • 1A demon supposedly attending and obeying a witch, often said to assume the form of an animal.

    • ‘In the early modern period both familiars and fairies were believed to possess a range of supernatural powers which were considered capable of affecting almost any aspect of human life.’
    • ‘Familiars were usually small animals such as dogs, cats, toads, mice and owls. Many witches' familiars had unusual names.’
    • ‘The familiar of a witch is always a black cat; and it is supposed that black cats have powers and faculties quite different from all other of the feline tribe.’
    • ‘To aid the witch, she would keep a ‘familiar’ - a cat or other animal - which was really a demon who served the witch.’
    • ‘Both familiars and fairies could appear dressed wholly in black, or wholly in white, or in any variety of colours in between.’
  • 2A close friend or associate.

    • ‘His son, James Maury, a familiar of this group, was in after years appointed first United States Consul to Liverpool by George Washington.’
    • ‘Associating with familiars can potentially provide individuals with important benefits, including enhanced group antipredator behavior.’
    friend, best friend, companion, boon companion, intimate, familiar, confidant, confidante, alter ego, second self
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  • 3(in the Roman Catholic Church) a person rendering certain services in a pope's or bishop's household.

    • ‘In 1307, after having written the "Arbor vitae", he was chosen chaplain and familiar to Cardinal Napoleone Orsini.’
    • ‘Familiars actually dwelling in a monastery may receive their Easter Communion in the church or chapel of the monastery.’

Origin

Middle English (in the sense ‘intimate’, ‘on a family footing’): from Old French familier, from Latin familiaris, from familia ‘household servants, family’, from famulus ‘servant’.

Pronunciation

familiar

/fəˈmilyər//fəˈmɪljər/