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

His photograph partly serves the narrative chosen by the Forum’s custodians. New York Times, "Take a Photo Here," 27 June 2018 But after 1979 Saudi kings, who call themselves custodians of the two holy mosques, resolved to outdo their foes, both Shia and Sunni, in Islamic piety. The Economist, "Muslims but not brothersSaudi Arabia turns against political Islam," 23 June 2018 Your heirs might have to empty the account within five years, or the IRA custodian may opt to distribute the whole amount to the estate in one taxable distribution. Liz Weston,, "What's better, collecting Social Security early or blowing through retirement savings?," 15 Apr. 2018 The custodian recognized the owner, Vincent Solmonte, 35, as one of the victims. Emily Sweeney,, "Four decades have passed since five men were found dead at the Blackfriars Pub in Boston," 12 July 2018 There’s a custodian walking by, and then a scene with droplets of blood. Morgan Baila,, "Sharp Objects Premiere Recap: Home Is Where The Murder Is," 9 July 2018 The chief is the sole justice whose role, by tradition, goes beyond casting votes and writing opinions and extends to serving as the custodian of the court’s role and reputation. Brent Kendall, WSJ, "Chief Justice Roberts Moves to Man in the Middle on the Supreme Court," 2 July 2018 Hinckley said the custodians can apply for their jobs with Alpha. Karen Caffarini, Post-Tribune, "Labor leaders question removing some Gary school unions," 22 June 2018 About 96,000 state workers are represented by the union, with a wide ranges of salaries from nurses to custodians. Adam Ashton, sacbee, "Will SEIU 1000's raises hold back Yvonne Walker's re-election bid? | The Sacramento Bee," 9 May 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

1 Sep 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

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