What does familiar mean?

Definitions for familiar
fəˈmɪl yərfa·mil·iar

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word familiar.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. familiarnoun

    a person attached to the household of a high official (as a pope or bishop) who renders service in return for support

  2. companion, comrade, fellow, familiar, associatenoun

    a friend who is frequently in the company of another

    "drinking companions"; "comrades in arms"

  3. familiar, familiar spiritadjective

    a spirit (usually in animal form) that acts as an assistant to a witch or wizard

  4. familiaradjective

    well known or easily recognized

    "a familiar figure"; "familiar songs"; "familiar guests"

  5. familiaradjective

    within normal everyday experience; common and ordinary; not strange

    "familiar ordinary objects found in every home"; "a familiar everyday scene"; "a familiar excuse"; "a day like any other filled with familiar duties and experiences"

  6. conversant(p), familiar(p)adjective

    (usually followed by `with') well informed about or knowing thoroughly

    "conversant with business trends"; "familiar with the complex machinery"; "he was familiar with those roads"

  7. familiar, intimateadjective

    having mutual interests or affections; of established friendship

    "on familiar terms"; "pretending she is on an intimate footing with those she slanders"


  1. familiarnoun

    A member of one's family or household.

  2. familiarnoun

    A close friend.

  3. familiarnoun

    An attendant spirit often in animal form.

    The witch's familiar was a black cat.

  4. familiaradjective

    Known to one.

    There's a familiar face.

  5. familiaradjective


    I'm not familiar with this system.

  6. familiaradjective

    Intimate or friendly.

    We are not on familiar terms.

  7. familiaradjective

    Inappropriately intimate or friendly.

    Don't be familiar with me, boy!

  8. familiaradjective

    Of or pertaining to a family; familial.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. FAMILIARadjective

    Etymology: familiaris, Latin.

    They range familiar to the dome. Alexander Pope.

    Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar. William Shakespeare, Hamlet.

    Be not too familiar with Poins; for he misuses thy favours so much, that he swears thou art to marry his sister Nell. William Shakespeare.

    Kalandar streight thought he saw his niece Parthenia, and was about in such familiar sort to have spoken unto her; but she, in grave and honourable manner, gave him to understand that he was mistaken. Philip Sidney.

    I see not how the Scripture could be possibly made familiar unto all, unless far more should be read in the people’s hearing than by a sermon can be opened. Richard Hooker, b. v. s. 22.

    Let us chuse such limbs of noble counsel,
    That the great body of our state may go
    In equal rank with the best govern’d nation;
    That war, or peace, or both at once, may be
    As things acquainted and familiar to us. William Shakespeare, Henry IV.

    Our sweet
    Recess, and only consolation left
    Familiar to our eyes! John Milton, Paradise Lost, b. xi.

    One idea which is familiar to the mind, connected with others which are new and strange, will bring those new ideas into easy remembrance. Isaac Watts, Improvement of the Mind.

    Or chang’d at length, and to the place conform’d
    In temper and in nature, will receive
    Familiar the fierce heat, and void of pain. John Milton, P. Lost.

    The senses at first let in particular ideas; and the mind, by degrees, growing familiar with some of them, they are lodged in the memory, and names got to them. John Locke.

    He was amazed how so impotent and groveling an insect as I could entertain such inhuman ideas, and in so familiar a manner, as to appear wholly unmoved at all the scenes of blood and desolation. Gulliver’s Travels.

    Patient permit the sadly-pleasing strain;
    Familiar now with grief, your tears refrain. Alexander Pope, Odyssey.

    To a wrong hypothesis, may be reduced the errors that may be occasioned by a true hypothesis, but not rightly understood: there is nothing more familiar than this. John Locke.

    He unreins
    His muse, and sports in loose familiar strains. Addison.

    A poor man found a priest familiar with his wife, and because he spake it abroad, and could not prove it, the priest sued him for defamation. William Camden.

  2. Familiarnoun

    The king is a noble gentleman, and my familiar. William Shakespeare.

    When he finds himself avoided and neglected by his familiars, this affects him. John Rogers, Sermon 10.

    Love is a familiar; there is no evil angel but love. William Shakespeare.


  1. Familiar

    In European folklore of the medieval and early modern periods, familiars (sometimes referred to as familiar spirits) were believed to be supernatural entities that would assist witches and cunning folk in their practice of magic. According to records of the time, those alleging to have had contact with familiar spirits reported that they could manifest as numerous forms, usually as an animal, but sometimes as a human or humanoid figure, and were described as "clearly defined, three-dimensional... forms, vivid with colour and animated with movement and sound", as opposed to descriptions of ghosts with their "smoky, undefined form[s]".When they served witches, they were often thought to be malevolent, but when working for cunning folk they were often considered benevolent (although there was some ambiguity in both cases). The former were often categorized as demons, while the latter were more commonly thought of and described as fairies. The main purpose of familiars was to serve the witch, providing protection for them as they came into their new powers.Since the 20th century some magical practitioners, including adherents of the Neopagan religion of Wicca, use the concept of familiars, due to their association with older forms of magic. These contemporary practitioners use pets or wildlife, or believe that invisible versions of familiars act as magical aides.


  1. familiar

    Familiar refers to something or someone that is well known, recognizable, or well accustomed to, typically due to frequent contact, experience, or knowledge.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Familiaradjective

    of or pertaining to a family; domestic

  2. Familiaradjective

    closely acquainted or intimate, as a friend or companion; well versed in, as any subject of study; as, familiar with the Scriptures

  3. Familiaradjective

    characterized by, or exhibiting, the manner of an intimate friend; not formal; unconstrained; easy; accessible

  4. Familiaradjective

    well known; well understood; common; frequent; as, a familiar illustration

  5. Familiaradjective

    improperly acquainted; wrongly intimate

  6. Familiarnoun

    an intimate; a companion

  7. Familiarnoun

    an attendant demon or evil spirit

  8. Familiarnoun

    a confidential officer employed in the service of the tribunal, especially in apprehending and imprisoning the accused

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Familiar

    fa-mil′yar, adj. well acquainted or intimate: showing the manner of an intimate: free: unceremonious: having a thorough knowledge of: well known or understood: private, domestic: common, plain.—n. one well or long acquainted: a spirit or demon supposed to attend an individual at call: a member of a pope's or bishop's household: the officer of the Inquisition who arrested the suspected.—v.t. Famil′iarise, to make thoroughly acquainted: to accustom: to make easy by practice or study.—n. Familiar′ity, intimate acquaintanceship: freedom from constraint: any unusual or unwarrantable freedom in act or speech toward another, acts of license—usually in pl.adv. Famil′iarly. [O. Fr. familier—L. familiaris, from familia, a family.]


  1. Familiar

    Familiar turns your computer into a social picture frame programmed by your closest friends and family. Familiar brings photos directly to your screen, blending elements of the picture frame and slideshow to personalize your screen with life’s cherished moments. Mom and Dad, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters can all get connected on Familiar so their screensaver is personalized with the best family photos.

Matched Categories

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'familiar' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #1810

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'familiar' in Written Corpus Frequency: #2757

  3. Adjectives Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'familiar' in Adjectives Frequency: #236

How to pronounce familiar?

How to say familiar in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of familiar in Chaldean Numerology is: 3

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of familiar in Pythagorean Numerology is: 6

Examples of familiar in a Sentence

  1. Abhi Raynott:

    You're telling me that a chef must be familiar with every ingredient in a cupcake because of allergies, but a doctor is not required to be familiar with the contents in a vaccination.

  2. Kristyn Brandi:

    The pill and sterilization are our oldest forms of birth control and women are more familiar with them, so many women use what they are familiar with. However, as newer devices come unto the market and become popular, that may change.

  3. The Wellingtons:

    There aren’t any real surprises that will confuse me, and that makes things go a lot more smoothly, even the way they run the tours are familiar. I’m very comfortable in the process even when we’re out off the ship going somewhere. The methodology, the way they conduct the tours is all very familiar.

  4. Maria Ressa:

    Trump is very familiar to Filipinos. Many people have observed that he and Duterte have many things in common -- they are both sexist at best, misogynous at worst. They incite to hate and sometimes to violence, and they tend to divide and conquer, making it us against them, instead of providing a leadership that tries to unite and to heal, but in general, Filipinos are stunned by what's happening in the US. It is familiar to us -- we have a president who tells police to shoot people dead -- but this is the United States. It's always been the guiding light, the values of democracy, the founding fathers' declaration of independence. And for the last three years, we and the world have grappled with who takes global leadership. We are wondering, has democracy failed?

  5. H.L. Mencken:

    The older I grow the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for familiar

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"familiar." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 2 Oct. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/familiar>.

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