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 length of time that kids are spending in state custody is growing—from an average of 12.2 months in 2006 to 14.3 months in 2017. Naomi Schaefer Riley, WSJ, "Moving Kids From Foster Care to Adoption," 8 Mar. 2019 Another 12 parents have been deported, and 11 remain in federal or state custody for other offenses. Lomi Kriel, San Antonio Express-News, "Half of migrants under 5 reunited with parents, though rest remain ‘ineligible’," 12 July 2018 Kentae, who’d been in state custody since birth had always found solace in water according to a child services employee, splashed. Joshua Sharpe, ajc, "DeKalb dad claims autistic son, 10, killed himself — then admits lie," 12 July 2018 Through a surging storm of sound, the singer Franklin James Fisher cries out the names of black people who have died while in state custody. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "The Grandeur of Great Protest Music," 1 July 2018 Spain’s Banco Santander SA and France’s Credit Agricole SA are to combine their custody and asset-servicing operations, creating a €3.34 trillion ($3.78 trillion) custodian business with more scale to compete. Patricia Kowsmann, WSJ, "Santander and Credit Agricole to Create $3.78 Trillion Custodial Bank," 17 Apr. 2019 Finally, shortly thereafter, Ecuador’s ambassador to Britain, Jaime Marchan, called to say that Assange was in British custody. Joshua Goodman, The Seattle Times, "After 7 long years, Assange’s capture happened quickly," 16 Apr. 2019 Police said four people — three men and a woman — are in custody and one of the men, who has been charged with murder, will appear before a court Saturday. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "Mosque Shooting Attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand, Resulted in Dozens of Deaths," 15 Mar. 2019 Many Friends fans think that Ross' instability in the second half of the series could easily have led to Ben's mother gaining full custody of her son. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "“Riverdale”’s Cole Sprouse Has a Crazy Theory About the Disappearance of His “Friends” Character," 19 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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Learn More about custody

Statistics for custody

Last Updated

13 May 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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