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See more synonyms for unfamiliar on Thesaurus.com
  1. not familiar; not acquainted with or conversant about: to be unfamiliar with a subject.
  2. different; unaccustomed; unusual; strange: an unfamiliar treat.
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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


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for unfamiliarity

Historical Examples

  • His unfamiliarity was not surprising; he had little acquaintance with the stock market.

    Fair Harbor

    Joseph Crosby Lincoln

  • It had not taken them half an hour to bridge over the gap of unfamiliarity.

  • The unfamiliarity, even horror, of the situation can be imagined.

  • I think that this unfamiliarity with armchair life is a misfortune.

  • But here again she was confronted by the sensation of unfamiliarity.

    The Gambler

    Katherine Cecil Thurston

British Dictionary definitions for unfamiliarity


  1. not known or experienced; strange
  2. (postpositive foll by with) not familiar
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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 unfamiliarity



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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper