not familiar; not acquainted with or conversant about: to be unfamiliar with a subject.
different; unaccustomed; unusual; strange: an unfamiliar treat.

Origin of unfamiliar

First recorded in 1585–95; un-1 + familiar
Related formsun·fa·mil·i·ar·i·ty [uhn-fuh-mil-ee-ar-i-tee] /ˌʌn fəˌmɪl iˈær ɪ ti/, nounun·fa·mil·iar·ly, adverb

Synonyms for unfamiliar

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for unfamiliar

Contemporary Examples of unfamiliar

Historical Examples of unfamiliar

  • He was not unfamiliar with the lot of one who dines with the learned Von Herzlich.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Do not disturb the prestige which belongs to a distant and unfamiliar power.

  • My heart sank and my voice dwindled to a quavering, unfamiliar whisper.

  • I am so unfamiliar with this room that I haven't any favorite chair.

    Her Father's Daughter

    Gene Stratton-Porter

  • His very desolation, amidst the unfamiliar faces, awed and chilled him.

    Night and Morning, Complete

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

British Dictionary definitions for unfamiliar



not known or experienced; strange
(postpositive foll by with) not familiar
Derived Formsunfamiliarity (ˌʌnfəˌmɪlɪˈærɪtɪ), noununfamiliarly, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for unfamiliar

1590s, from un- (1) "not" + familiar. Related: Unfamiliarly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper