cus·​tom | \ ˈkə-stəm How to pronounce custom (audio) \

Definition of custom

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a usage or practice common to many or to a particular place or class or habitual with an individual It is the custom in New Orleans to celebrate Mardi Gras. funeral customs
b : long-established practice considered as unwritten law
c : repeated practice Custom makes all things easy.
d : the whole body of usages, practices, or conventions that regulate social life … family, kinship, and custom constituted the grounds of community.— V. B. Leitch
2 customs 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 went through customs at the airport without any difficulty
3a : business patronage (see patronage sense 4)
b : usually habitual patrons : customers



Definition of custom (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : made or performed according to personal order
2 : specializing in custom work or operation a custom tailor

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Choose the Right Synonym for 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 a habitual manner, method, or practice of an individual or group. as was her wont, she slept until noon

Examples of custom in a Sentence

Noun It is the custom for the bride to wear a white dress on her wedding day. According to custom, the festivities begin at dusk. It's a matter of custom. We went through customs at the airport without any difficulty. It took us a long time to clear customs at the border. Adjective The new kitchen will have custom cabinets. that business tycoon wears only custom suits
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The Supreme Court, by design, is an institution steeped in tradition and custom to a degree that sets it apart from the other two branches of the government. John Fritze, USA TODAY, "Techies give an old fashioned Supreme Court decent marks in coding case," 10 Apr. 2021 In addition to the book and custom posters that were created for each city — both available at — a Bring Music Home docuseries and podcast are also in the works. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: ‘Bring Music Home’ chronicles the year the music died at venues like the Belly Up, Casbah and Soda Bar," 8 Apr. 2021 Over my decades of working at Creative Strategies, most of my work and that of my team has been to provide research and custom consulting to very large tech companies. Tim Bajarin, Forbes, "Automated Cocktail System Pours Its Way To Success," 8 Apr. 2021 Residents of San Francisco’s Chinatown mix East with West in custom and culture, ending with a double wedding. Ed Stockly, Los Angeles Times, "Movies on TV this week: James Dean in ‘Giant’ on TCM and more," 2 Apr. 2021 The modern farmhouse at 1720 Grass Court in Southlake was custom built by award-winning Veranda Designer Homes. Dallas News, "It’s a ‘great time’ to sell in Southlake, firm reports," 28 Mar. 2021 And that party thumbs its nose at law, custom and institutions, as well as at quiet doers like Toomey and Portman. Keith C. Burris, Star Tribune, "What America needs is a moral awakening," 21 Feb. 2021 The 11,512-square-foot living space with four bedrooms and six bathrooms was custom designed with help from Cruise to take full advantage of the surrounding mountain views. Emma Austin, The Courier-Journal, "SEE IT: Actor Tom Cruise puts stunning $39.5M Colorado mansion on the market," 24 Mar. 2021 Montblanc is the latest brand to join the watchmaking gold rush, the surprising return to gold cases, many of them made of proprietary and custom alloys. Carol Besler, Robb Report, "Montblanc Is Only Making 18 of Its New ‘Lime Gold’ Split-Second Chronographs," 22 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Fully ventilated, heated indoor sleep huts come equipped with LED mood lighting and custom elevated beds. Meena Thiruvengadam, Travel + Leisure, "Inside the World's First Luxury Hotel for Dogs," 5 Apr. 2021 When asked what makes the home special, Penney points out the two kitchens fitted with custom Amish cabinetry and a new walk-in pantry. cleveland, "Hudson’s historic Jeremiah Brown house on market for $1.5: House of the Week," 2 Apr. 2021 Artists who use the feature in the future will collaborate with Wave to design personalized gifts for their shows, in the same way Wave helps artists create custom virtual spaces for their shows. Tatiana Cirisano, Billboard, "Dillon Francis Joins Wave for Virtual Show Where Fans Can 'Gift' Dancing Avocados + More," 24 Mar. 2021 Thirty lots will be custom hillside homes with sea views, with land starting at $60 a square foot. New York Times, "House Hunting in Mexico: A 19th-Century Courthouse Turned Hacienda," 10 Mar. 2021 Browning is pushing its venerable X-Bolt into semi-custom territory with the new Mountain Pro editions, in Tungsten and Burnt Bronze finishes. Tyler Freel, Outdoor Life, "The 10 Best New Rifles for 2021," 1 Mar. 2021 Oliveira says it’s important to understand how many options a builder is really offering, especially with semi-custom or tract homes (a development featuring homes of a similar style). Kaitlin Peterson, House Beautiful, "4 Signs You Should Sell Your House and Build a New One," 19 Feb. 2021 Not only have puzzles become a trendy activity, but so have the options of puzzles to buy—personalized puzzles and non-custom puzzles. Samantha Matt, USA TODAY, "15 thoughtful Valentine's Day gifts women actually want," 20 Jan. 2021 Facebook has had to hire tens of thousands of moderators and has built custom artificial intelligence systems which now detects more than 94 percent of the hate speech that is removed from the site. Washington Post, "On its 20th birthday, Wikipedia might be safest place online," 15 Jan. 2021

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


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1757, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for custom

Noun and Adjective

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

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Time Traveler for custom

Time Traveler

The first known use of custom was in the 13th century

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Statistics for custom

Last Updated

12 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Custom.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for custom



English Language Learners Definition of custom

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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



English Language Learners Definition of custom (Entry 2 of 2)

chiefly US
: made to fit the needs or requirements of a particular person
: doing work that fits the needs or requirements of a particular person


cus·​tom | \ ˈkə-stəm How to pronounce custom (audio) \

Kids Definition of custom

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the usual way of doing things : the usual practice
2 customs plural : duties or taxes paid on imports or exports
3 : support given to a business by its customers Buyers grew tired of waiting … and … took their custom elsewhere.— Linda Sue Park, A Single Shard



Kids Definition of custom (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : made or done to personal order custom furniture
2 : specializing in work done to personal order a custom printer



Legal Definition of custom

1 : a practice common to many or to a particular place or institution especially : a long-established practice that is generally recognized as having the force of law — see also section 1983 — compare usage
2 plural
a : duties, tolls, or imposts imposed by the law of a country on imports or exports
b usually singular in construction : the agency, establishment, or procedure for collecting such customs

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