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From Middle French familiarité, from Latin familiāritātem. Displaced native Old English hīwcūþnes.

Morphologically familiar +‎ -ity



familiarity (countable and uncountable, plural familiarities)

  1. The state of being extremely friendly; intimacy.
    • 1603, Michel de Montaigne, chapter 8, in John Florio, transl., The Essayes [], book II, London: [] Val[entine] Simmes for Edward Blount [], →OCLC:
      It is also folly and injustice to deprive children [] of their fathers familiaritie, and ever to shew them a surly, austere, grim, and disdainefull countenance, hoping thereby to keepe them in awfull feare and duteous obedience.
    • 1677, Hannah Woolley, The Compleat Servant-Maid[1], London: T. Passinger, page 2:
      Do not keep familiarity with any but those, with whom you may improve your time.
  2. Undue intimacy; inappropriate informality, impertinence.
    • 1927, G K Chesterton, The Return of Don Quixote, page 5:
      Murrel did not in the least object to being called a monkey, yet he always felt a slight distaste when Julian Archer called him one. [] It had to do with a fine shade between familiarity and intimacy which men like Murrel are never ready to disregard, however ready they may be to black their faces.
  3. An instance of familiar behaviour.
  4. Close or habitual acquaintance with someone or something; understanding or recognition acquired from experience.
    • 1837, L[etitia] E[lizabeth] L[andon], “The Influence of the Dead”, in Ethel Churchill: Or, The Two Brides. [], volume II, London: Henry Colburn, [], →OCLC, page 269:
      The objects around have been seen so often, that they have at last become, as it were, unseen; their familiarity does not carry us out of ourselves, for all their associations are our own.

Derived terms[edit]


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