mid-14c., "intimate, very friendly, on a family footing," from Old French famelier "related; friendly," from Latin familiaris "domestic, private, belonging to a family, of a household;" also "familiar, intimate, friendly," dissimilated from *familialis, from familia (see family). From late 14c. as "of or pertaining to one's family." Of things, "known from long association," from late 15c. Meaning "ordinary, usual" is from 1590s.
The noun meaning "demon, evil spirit that answers one's call" is from 1580s (familiar spirit is attested from 1560s); earlier as a noun it meant "a familiar friend" (late 14c.). The Latin plural, used as a noun, meant "the slaves," also "a friend, intimate acquaintance, companion."
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