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3 definitions found
 for familiar spirit
From 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."
     Syn: familial.
          [1913 Webster]
     2. Closely acquainted or intimate, as a friend or companion;
        well versed in, as any subject of study; as, familiar with
        the Scriptures.
        [1913 Webster]
     3. Characterized by, or exhibiting, the manner of an intimate
        friend; not formal; unconstrained; easy; accessible. "In
        loose, familiar strains." --Addison.
        [1913 Webster]
              Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar. --Shak.
        [1913 Webster]
     4. Well known; well understood; common; frequent; as, a
        familiar illustration.
        [1913 Webster]
              That war, or peace, or both at once, may be
              As things acquainted and familiar to us. --Shak.
        [1913 Webster]
              There is nothing more familiar than this. --Locke.
        [1913 Webster]
     5. Improperly acquainted; wrongly intimate. --Camden.
        [1913 Webster]
     Familiar spirit, a demon or evil spirit supposed to attend
        at call. --1 Sam. xxviii. 3, 7-9.
        [1913 Webster]

From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) :

  familiar spirit
      n 1: a spirit (usually in animal form) that acts as an assistant
           to a witch or wizard [syn: familiar, familiar spirit]

From Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary :

  Familiar spirit
     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.

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