Definition of familiar in English:


Line breaks: fa¦mil|iar
Pronunciation: /fəˈmɪlɪə


  • 2In close friendship; intimate: she had not realized they were on such familiar terms
    More example sentences
    • A lump formed in Lexus' throat, as he watched his oldest, and most familiar confidante, and friend, slip away.
    • The old man was on familiar terms with Matusoka Tamaki.
    • Everson dropped the usual ‘Humbly report Your Levity’ and spoke to the wizard in very familiar terms.
  • 2.1Informal or intimate to an inappropriate degree: he was being overly familiar with Gloria
    More example sentences
    • There is no room for your overly familiar, glaringly inappropriate questions.
    • 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.
    overfamiliar, unduly familiar, over-free, presumptuous, disrespectful, forward, bold, impudent, impertinent, intrusive; making passes at, chatting up, making advances towards
    informal pushy


Back to top  
  • 1 (also familiar spirit) A demon supposedly attending and obeying a witch, often said to assume the form of an animal: her familiars were her two little griffons that nested in her skirts
    More example sentences
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    More example sentences
    • Associating with familiars can potentially provide individuals with important benefits, including enhanced group antipredator behavior.
    • His son, James Maury, a familiar of this group, was in after years appointed first United States Consul to Liverpool by George Washington.
  • 3(In the Roman Catholic Church) a person rendering certain services in a pope’s or bishop’s household.
    More example sentences
    • Familiars actually dwelling in a monastery may receive their Easter Communion in the church or chapel of the monastery.
    • In 1307, after having written the "Arbor vitae", he was chosen chaplain and familiar to Cardinal Napoleone Orsini.



More example sentences
  • I will be leaving behind a landscape I know familiarly, that I observe closely, that I love.
  • Davies followed an early yellow card with that second booking, and the 131st north London derby took on a familiarly modern pattern.
  • But now there is a new highway, familiarly known as the GT Road, and no different from any other.


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'.

More definitions of familiar

Definition of familiar in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day kerf
Pronunciation: kərf
a slit made by cutting with a saw