Meaning of “familiar” in the English Dictionary

"familiar" in British English

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familiaradjective

uk /fəˈmɪl.i.ər/ us /fəˈmɪl.i.jɚ/

familiar adjective (EASY TO RECOGNIZE)

B1 easy to recognize because of being seen, met, heard, etc. before:

There were one or two familiar faces (= people I knew).
The house looked strangely familiar, though she knew she'd never been there before.
The street was familiar to me.
be familiar with sth/sb

B2 to know something or someone well:

I'm sorry, I'm not familiar with your poetry.

More examples

  • Her name is familiar, but I can't quite call to mind where I've heard it.
  • I saw a few familiar faces among the crowd.
  • He was a familiar figure on the lecture circuit.
  • She looks familiar but I can't place her - did she use to work here?
  • When the conversation turns to politics he's on familiar ground.
familiarly
adverb uk /fəˈmɪl.i.ə.li/ us /fəˈmɪl.i.jɚ.li/

Chesney Baker, known familiarly as "Chet"

familiarnoun [ C ]

uk /fəˈmɪl.i.ər/ us /fəˈmɪl.i.jɚ/ old use

(Definition of “familiar” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"familiar" in American English

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familiaradjective

us /fəˈmɪl·jər/

familiar adjective (KNOWN)

easy to recognize because previously experienced:

familiar sights
a familiar face
I’m not familiar with current research in the field.

familiar adjective (INFORMAL)

informal or friendly, esp. more than is expected:

Her familiar tone makes her writing more effective.

(Definition of “familiar” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)