1. [syn: familiar, familiar spirit]
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Familiar \Fa*mil`iar\, a. [OE. familer, familier, F. familier,
fr. L. familiaris, fr. familia family. See Family.]
1. Of or pertaining to a family; domestic. "Familiar feuds."
2. Closely acquainted or intimate, as a friend or companion;
well versed in, as any subject of study; as, familiar with
3. Characterized by, or exhibiting, the manner of an intimate
friend; not formal; unconstrained; easy; accessible. "In
loose, familiar strains." --Addison.
Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar. --Shak.
4. Well known; well understood; common; frequent; as, a
That war, or peace, or both at once, may be
As things acquainted and familiar to us. --Shak.
There is nothing more familiar than this. --Locke.
5. Improperly acquainted; wrongly intimate. --Camden.
Familiar spirit, a demon or evil spirit supposed to attend
at call. --1 Sam. xxviii. 3, 7-9.
WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006):
n 1: a spirit (usually in animal form) that acts as an assistant
to a witch or wizard [syn: familiar, familiar spirit]
Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary:
Sorcerers or necormancers, who professed to call up the dead to
answer questions, were said to have a "familiar spirit" (Deut.
18:11; 2 Kings 21:6; 2 Chr. 33:6; Lev. 19:31; 20:6; Isa. 8:19;
29:4). Such a person was called by the Hebrews an _'ob_, which
properly means a leathern bottle; for sorcerers were regarded as
vessels containing the inspiring demon. This Hebrew word was
equivalent to the pytho of the Greeks, and was used to denote
both the person and the spirit which possessed him (Lev. 20:27;
1 Sam. 28:8; comp. Acts 16:16). The word "familiar" is from the
Latin familiaris, meaning a "household servant," and was
intended to express the idea that sorcerers had spirits as their
servants ready to obey their commands.