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noun cus·tom \ˈkəs-təm\

Simple Definition of custom

  • : an action or way of behaving that is usual and traditional among the people in a particular group or place

  • : something that is done regularly by a person

  • customs : taxes or fees that are paid to the government when goods come into or go out of a country

Full Definition of custom

  1. 1 a :  a usage or practice common to many or to a particular place or class or habitual with an individual b :  long-established practice considered as unwritten law c :  repeated practice d :  the whole body of usages, practices, or conventions that regulate social life

  2. 2 plural a :  duties, tolls, or imposts imposed by the sovereign law of a country on imports or exports b usually singular in construction :  the agency, establishment, or procedure for collecting such customs

  3. 3 a :  business patronage b :  usu. habitual patrons :  customers

Examples of custom

  1. It is the custom for the bride to wear a white dress on her wedding day.

  2. According to custom, the festivities begin at dusk.

  3. It's a matter of custom.

  4. We went through customs at the airport without any difficulty.

  5. It took us a long time to clear customs at the border.

Origin of custom

Middle English custume, from Anglo-French, from Latin consuetudin-, consuetudo, from consuescere to accustom, from com- + suescere to accustom; akin to suus one's own — more at suicide

First Known Use: 13th century

Synonym Discussion of custom

habit, practice, usage, custom, wont mean a way of acting fixed through repetition. habit implies a doing unconsciously and often compulsively <had a habit of tapping his fingers>. practice suggests an act or method followed with regularity and usually through choice <our practice is to honor all major credit cards>. usage suggests a customary action so generally followed that it has become a social norm <western-style dress is now common usage in international business>. custom applies to a practice or usage so steadily associated with an individual or group as to have almost the force of unwritten law <the custom of wearing black at funerals>. wont usually applies to an habitual manner, method, or practice of an individual or group <as was her wont, she slept until noon>.

Rhymes with custom



adjective cus·tom

Simple Definition of custom

  • : made to fit the needs or requirements of a particular person

  • : doing work that fits the needs or requirements of a particular person

Full Definition of custom

  1. 1 :  made or performed according to personal order

  2. 2 :  specializing in custom work or operation <a custom tailor>

Examples of custom

  1. The new kitchen will have custom cabinets.

  2. <that business tycoon wears only custom suits>


First Known Use of custom


Seen and Heard

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February 8, 2016

to clear from accusation or blame

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