cus·​to·​di·​an | \ˌkə-ˈstō-dē-ən \

Definition of custodian 

: one that guards and protects or maintains especially : one entrusted with guarding and keeping property or records or with custody or guardianship of prisoners or inmates

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Other Words from custodian

custodianship \ ˌkə-​ˈstō-​dē-​ən-​ˌship \ noun

Examples of custodian in a Sentence

the custodian made his usual rounds of the building to make sure that everything was OK served as custodian of the prisoner until he could be turned over to federal authorities

Recent Examples on the Web

McCartney clearly sees himself as a public custodian for The Beatles’ legacy. Stereo Williams, Billboard, "How I Became a Paul McCartney Fan: Discovering the Depths of the Former Beatle's Underappreciated Solo Catalog," 18 June 2018 Franklin, a 2013 graduate of Calvin Coolidge Senior High School, was hired as a custodian through Goodwill’s AbilityOne Program, an organization that helps find jobs for people with disabilities. Allison Klein, Washington Post, "Senator invited custodian to State of the Union: ‘He works hard behind the scenes’," 31 Jan. 2018 Hedge funds with more than $150 million in assets are required to store their assets with a qualified custodian. Erin Griffith, WIRED, "A Merger That Would Have Made Crypto Investing Easier Fails," 19 June 2018 Other cases tied to Madoff in Europe have stalled before the European Union’s Court of Justice as lawyers for the banks that were custodians of the funds, and are the targets of lawsuits, try to block access to relevant documents. Hugo Miller,, "Madoff Geneva Case Gets Partial Reboot a Decade Later," 25 Apr. 2018 How a strike could play out in more than 200 public school districts will vary but could leave hourly workers like custodians without their paychecks. CBS News, "Arizona teachers vote for first-ever statewide walkout," 20 Apr. 2018 Those interested in serving as a substitute teacher, secretary, custodian, food service worker, bus driver, bus attendant, school nurse or health assistant should submit an online application by July 27. Staff Report, Post-Tribune, "Community news," 13 July 2018 But the current custodians of the document—the National Archives—will tell you that almost no original ink remains on the Declaration of Independence. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "The Science of Saving the Declaration of Independence," 3 July 2018 The suspect may have been a custodian employed by the school, said Lt. Corina Knoll,, "Cal Poly Pomona security officer killed, suspect fatally shot on campus," 30 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'custodian.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of custodian

1602, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for custodian

Last Updated

27 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for custodian

The first known use of custodian was in 1602

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More Definitions for custodian



Financial Definition of custodian

What It Is

A custodian is an institution or individual that can act as an agent and exercise legal authority over the financial assets of another individual or company.

How It Works

A custodian typically handles a variety of activities, including physically holding equities and bonds, settling purchases and sales, reporting the status of assets, tax compliance and reporting, and management of the client's accounts and transactions.

For example, a bank may act as a custodian for a customer's investment activities, moving funds into brokerage accounts, researching investment alternatives such as companies and funds which might be appropriate investment targets, instructing brokers to buy or sell securities, monitoring the investment activities within the account, and reporting account activity to the owner.  The custodian may also prepare the necessary tax filings on behalf of the owner, based on the activities within the account.

Custodians may be appointed to hold control of assets of a minor or an incapacitated adult.  An adult with legal status may act as the custodian for the accounts of a minor. For example, a common tax strategy is to give a financial gift to a minor when their tax rate is lowest.  Under the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA), an adult or parent establishes the account on behalf of the minor and serves as custodian, maintaining the legal authority and direction over the custodial account.  When the minor becomes an adult, the custodian relinquishes his or her authority over the account.

The custodian role is often held by banks, law firms, or accounting firms which usually carry additional fees for the services.

Why It Matters

Custodian services are generally useful for absentee owners (i.e. owners who are not interested or able to be involved in the day-to-day management activities of their accounts), as well as complex transactions, management of substantial assets, timely reporting and compliance, and tax management strategies.

Source: Investing Answers



English Language Learners Definition of custodian

: someone who keeps and protects something valuable for another person

: a person who cleans and takes care of a building


cus·​to·​di·​an | \ˌkə-ˈstō-dē-ən \

Kids Definition of custodian

: a person who guards and protects or takes care of the school custodian

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Legal Definition of custodian 

: an individual entrusted with guarding and keeping property or having custody of a person: as

a : the warden of a prison

b : a person given custody of a child by court order

c : a person named to manage a child's property under the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act

d : a person or entity appointed by a bankruptcy court to take charge of the debtor's property for purposes of administration

Other Words from custodian

custodianship noun

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Comments on custodian

What made you want to look up custodian? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


obstinately defiant of authority

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