commonly or generally known or seen: a familiar sight.
well-acquainted; thoroughly conversant: to be familiar with a subject.
informal; easygoing; unceremonious; unconstrained: to write in a familiar style.
closely intimate or personal: a familiar friend; to be on familiar terms.
unduly intimate; too personal; taking liberties; presuming: The duchess disliked familiar servants.
domesticated; tame.
of or pertaining to a family or household.
a familiar friend or associate.
Witchcraft and Demonology.
an animal, as a cat, that embodies a supernatural spirit and aids a witch in performing magic.
Roman Catholic Church.
an officer of the Inquisition, employed to arrest accused or suspected persons.
a person who belongs to the household of the pope or of a bishop, rendering domestic though not menial service.

1300–50; Middle English < Latin familiāris of a household (see family, -ar1); replacing Middle English famulier < Middle French < Latin, as above

familiarly, adverb
familiarness, noun
nonfamiliar, adjective
nonfamiliarly, adverb
overfamiliar, adjective
overfamiliarly, adverb
prefamiliar, adjective
prefamiliarly, adverb
quasi-familiar, adjective
quasi-familiarly, adverb
ultrafamiliar, adjective

4. Familiar, confidential, intimate suggest a long association between persons. Familiar means well-acquainted with another person: a familiar friend. Confidential suggests a sense of mutual trust that extends to the sharing of confidences and secrets: a confidential adviser. Intimate suggests close acquaintance or connection, often based on interest, sympathy, or affection: intimate and affectionate letters. 5. forward, bold.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
familiar (fəˈmɪlɪə)
adj (foll by with)
1.  well-known; easily recognized: a familiar figure
2.  frequent or customary: a familiar excuse
3.  acquainted
4.  friendly; informal
5.  close; intimate
6.  more intimate than is acceptable; presumptuous
7.  an archaic word for familial
8.  Also called: familiar spirit a supernatural spirit often assuming animal form, supposed to attend and aid a witch, wizard, etc
9.  a person, attached to the household of the pope or a bishop, who renders service in return for support
10.  an officer of the Inquisition who arrested accused persons
11.  a friend or frequent companion
[C14: from Latin familiāris domestic, from familiafamily]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

mid-14c., "intimate, very friendly," from O.Fr. familier, from L. familiaris "domestic." The sense gradually broadened. Of things, from late 15c. The noun meaning "demon, evil spirit that answers one's call" is from 1580s.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


see have a familiar ring.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Encyclopedia Britannica


in Western demonology, small animal or imp kept as a witch's attendant, given to her by the devil or inherited from another witch. The familiar was a low-ranking demon that assumed any animal shape, such as a toad, dog, insect, or black cat. Sometimes the familiar was described as a grotesque creature of fantasy, an amalgam of several creatures.

Learn more about familiar with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
The players not only compete, they enact a familiar ceremony that reaffirms
  common values.
When plagiarism lands an administrator in trouble, it is usually plagiarism of
  the more familiar variety.
Make sure you are familiar with the databases they own and the circ system they
  are currently using.
There is more poetry around, and people are more familiar with it, than they
Idioms & Phrases
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