Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Often encountered or seen. See Synonyms at common.
  • adj. Having fair knowledge; acquainted: was familiar with those roads.
  • adj. Of established friendship; intimate: on familiar terms.
  • adj. Natural and unstudied; informal: lectured in a familiar style.
  • adj. Taking undue liberties; presumptuous: Students should not be familiar toward an instructor.
  • adj. Familial.
  • adj. Domesticated; tame. Used of animals.
  • n. A close friend or associate.
  • n. An attendant spirit, often taking animal form.
  • n. One who performs domestic service in the household of a high official.
  • n. A person who frequents a place.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Known to one.
  • adj. Acquainted.
  • adj. Intimate or friendly.
  • adj. Inappropriately intimate or friendly.
  • adj. Of or pertaining to a family; familial.
  • n. A member of one's family or household.
  • n. A close friend.
  • n. An attendant spirit often in animal form.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Of or pertaining to a family; domestic.
  • adj. Closely acquainted or intimate, as a friend or companion; well versed in, as any subject of study.
  • adj. Characterized by, or exhibiting, the manner of an intimate friend; not formal; unconstrained; easy; accessible.
  • adj. Well known; well understood; common; frequent.
  • adj. Improperly acquainted; wrongly intimate.
  • n. An intimate; a companion.
  • n. An attendant demon or evil spirit.
  • n. A confidential officer employed in the service of the tribunal, especially in apprehending and imprisoning the accused.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Pertaining to a family; domestic.
  • Having, or springing from, intimate and friendly social relations; closely intimate: as, a familiar friend; familiar companionship; to be on familiar terms with one.
  • Having a friendly aspect or manner; exhibiting the manner of an intimate friend; affable; not formal or distant; especially, using undue familiarity; intrusive; forward.
  • Characterized by ease or absence of stiffness or pedantry; unconstrained.
  • Having an intimate knowledge; well knowing; well acquainted; well versed (in a subject of study): as, he is familiar with the works of Horace.
  • Well known from frequent observation, use, etc.; well understood.
  • Synonyms Close, intimate, amicable, fraternal, near.
  • n. A familiar friend; an intimate; a close companion; one long acquainted; one accustomed to another by free, unreserved converse.
  • n. A familiar spirit; a demon or evil spirit supposed to attend at call. See familiar spirit, under I.
  • n. In the Roman Catholic Church, a member of the household of the pope or of a bishop, supported at his expense, and rendering him domestic, though not menial service. The familiar must live in the diocese of his superior.
  • n. An officer of the Tribunal of the Inquisition who arrested persons accused or suspected. See inquisition.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. having mutual interests or affections; of established friendship
  • adj. (usually followed by `with') well informed about or knowing thoroughly
  • adj. well known or easily recognized
  • n. a friend who is frequently in the company of another
  • n. a spirit (usually in animal form) that acts as an assistant to a witch or wizard
  • adj. within normal everyday experience; common and ordinary; not strange
  • n. a person attached to the household of a high official (as a pope or bishop) who renders service in return for support

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French familier, from Latin famili─üris, domestic, from familia, family; see family.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • Walker first became a name familiar to the public when she starred in the TV series Profiler.

    Jackie K. Cooper: The Protector: Deja Vu All Over Again

  • However, 'blog implies that the user is certainly familiar with the term familiar enough to know it is derived from weblog or web log, but you never see 'b'log, do you? but feels some sort of anachronistic pull to demean the word with unnecessary punctuation; to say it can't stand on its own.

    I get email.

  • "He didn't invent 'method acting' (Stanislavsky did), but he made the term familiar around the world, revolutionizing the actor's art with his natural, tortured and spontaneous early performances," Seiler says.

    Celluloid Subversives

  • Seated at the head of the table the chief, or, in his absence, a representative, made the opening speech -- the address of welcome, to use the term familiar to ourselves.

    Toasts and Forms of Public Address for Those Who Wish to Say the Right Thing in the Right Way

  • Also featuring in Group C will be a name familiar to many New York basketball fans.

    NYT > Home Page

  • "He wasn't a name familiar with me, I am told that he rejoined the News of the World in 2005, 2006, and he worked for the News of the World and many other newspapers in the late 1990s."

    Evening Standard - Home

  • Finally Simon Hopkinson, a name familiar to lovers of good food writing, published The Good Cook, to go with the BBC series.

    WalesOnline - Home

  • Actually, Commknight, I was aware of all that, but chose to use the term familiar to most members of the public.

    Denver Post: News: Breaking: Local

  • The term familiar to me from my sailing days is Shock Cord, for it is often used to relieve the strain on a mooring or anchor line.

    VERBATIM: The Language Quarterly Vol XVIII No 4

  • Nice to meet you, he told her, looking for some sign that she found the name familiar.

    I.O.U.

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