custody

noun
cus·​to·​dy | \ ˈkə-stə-dē How to pronounce custody (audio) \
plural custodies

Definition of custody

: immediate charge and control (as over a ward or a suspect) exercised by a person or an authority also : safekeeping

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Examples of custody in a Sentence

She has sole custody of her daughter. The judge granted custody to the grandparents. The bank provides safe custody for valuables.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The driver, who hasn't been identified, was immediately taken into police custody and is being treated as a terrorist suspect, reports the Telegraph. Erin Florio, Condé Nast Traveler, "London Attack at Parliament Called 'Terrorist Incident'," 14 Aug. 2018 The gunman, a Maryland resident identified as Jarrod Ramos, 38, has been taken into custody and is currently being questioned but is not cooperating with authorities. Tonya Alanez, Sun-Sentinel.com, "South Florida's Rob Hiaasen, novelist Carl Hiaasen's brother, killed in newsroom shooting," 29 June 2018 Police say the suspect of a shooting at a building housing a Maryland newspaper is in custody and being interviewed. Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY, "Capital Gazette gunman was identified using facial recognition technology that's been controversial," 29 June 2018 The gunman, a Maryland resident identified as Jarrod Ramos, 38, has been taken into custody and is currently being questioned but is not cooperating with authorities. courant.com, "Assistant Editor Rob Hiaasen Killed In Newsroom Shooting," 28 June 2018 Godejohn is currently in custody awaiting trial for first-degree murder. Rose Minutaglio, Good Housekeeping, "Gypsy Rose Blanchard: A Look Back at Her Surreal Childhood and the Mother She Murdered," 6 Nov. 2018 Bowers is in custody — his life was saved by Jewish doctors and nurses — and presumably will never go free again. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Why social media is friend to far-right politicians around the world," 30 Oct. 2018 An Israeli court has ordered Alqasem to remain in custody during the appeal. Fox News, "US graduate student detained in Israel for alleged pro-Palestinian boycott support," 9 Oct. 2018 This was a place away from children, dirty dishes, bills to pay, decisions to make about finances and mortgages and custody schedules. Tara Conklin, Vogue, "After Divorce, Floating Another Chance at Love," 6 Feb. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'custody.' 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 custody

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for custody

Middle English custodie, from Latin custodia guarding, from custod-, custos guardian

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Statistics for custody

Last Updated

18 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for custody

The first known use of custody was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for custody

custody

noun

English Language Learners Definition of custody

law : the legal right to take care of a child (such as a child whose parents are divorced)
: the state of being kept in a prison or jail
formal : the act of protecting or taking care of something

custody

noun
cus·​to·​dy | \ ˈkə-stə-dē How to pronounce custody (audio) \

Kids Definition of custody

1 : direct responsibility for care and control The boy is in the custody of his parents.
2 : the state of being arrested or held by police The suspect has been taken into custody.

custody

noun
cus·​to·​dy

Legal Definition of custody

: care or control exercised by a person or authority over something or someone: as
a : supervision and control over property that usually includes liability for damage that may occur
b : care and maintenance of a child that includes the right to direct the child's activities and make decisions regarding the child's upbringing — compare visitation
joint custody
: custody of a child shared by divorced or separated parents who alternate physical custody of and share in decisions regarding the child

called also shared custody

physical custody
: custody that includes sharing a residence with a child
shared custody
: joint custody in this entry
sole custody
: custody of a child awarded to only one person and usually to a parent
temporary custody
: custody awarded until a final judgment in a matter (as a divorce) is made
c : official restraint on freedom (as by arrest or imprisonment or by release on bail, personal recognizance, probation, or parole) — compare arrest
constructive custody
: custody of a person (as a parolee) who is not under immediate physical control but whose freedom is controlled or restrained by legal authority
penal custody
: custody of a person (as in a correctional institution) as a form of punishment
physical custody
: custody of a person (as an arrestee) whose freedom is under the actual and immediate control of an official
preventive custody
: custody of a person (as a criminal defendant awaiting trial) for the purpose of preventing further possible dangerous or criminal behavior
protective custody
: physical custody of a person for his or her own safety

History and Etymology for custody

Latin custodia, from custod-, custos guardian

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Comments on custody

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