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 Normal Senate procedure is to ask for unanimous consent to skip the reading, which is typically granted by custom. Alex Pareene, The New Republic, "Just Rewrite the Senate Rules Already," 4 Mar. 2021 One widely enjoyed custom associated with dining and drink — aperitivo — originated in Italy several hundred years ago, and continues in various forms around the world today. Patricia Doherty, Travel + Leisure, "The History of the Aperitivo — and How to Enjoy It Like an Italian," 26 Feb. 2021 The 3,750-square-foot Major League clubhouse has 72 custom, 8-foot-tall lockers. Tim Newcomb, Forbes, "Toronto Blue Jays Triple Player Development Complex Size With New Facility," 25 Feb. 2021 The couple had a digital pre-wedding ceremony, including a traditional Mangalorean Catholic custom called a roce, as well as a virtual sangeet with dances and speeches from the French and Indian families and friends. New York Times, "A Marvel ‘Nerd’ Couldn’t Resist Her or a Spider Man Movie," 19 Feb. 2021 American diversity is rooted in eliminating the obstacles of law, custom, preference, and selective persecution that continue to plague Black Americans. Patrick A. Bradford, Fortune, "Pitting Black people against the LGBTQ community is a wrongheaded path to false diversity," 6 Feb. 2021 Diseases are spreaders of not only contagion but custom. Editorial Board, Star Tribune, "The case for COVID courtesies on Presidents' Day," 14 Feb. 2021 The practice of bowing, or sebae, is also an important custom during Seollal. Frances Lee, Woman's Day, "Everything to Know About Lunar New Year's Traditions," 12 Feb. 2021 The seamless concrete walls offer a modern yet seemingly industrial look to the home, while custom floor-to-ceiling windows drench it in natural light. Jakob Menendez,, "This Brutalist Rhode Island mansion is headed to auction," 9 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective 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 Dona Robinson of Allie Beth Allman & Associates is marketing the completely custom 5,595-square-foot home at 1405 Fountain Grass Court in the Vaquero golf community in Westlake. Dallas News, "Dona Robinson showcases custom contemporary design in Westlake," 27 Dec. 2020 Established in 2007 and specializing in automotive camera tech, the company became a supplier for Best Buy in 2015 and provided custom wireless camera technology for General Motors in 2016. Popsci Commerce Team, Popular Science, "Best dash cams: Car accessories to keep you safe on the road," 11 Dec. 2020 The Audi R8s are supercharged and fitted with custom exhaust systems. Jamie L. Lareau, Detroit Free Press, "Eddie Van Halen's ex-wife Valerie Bertinelli a self-proclaimed 'GM brat'," 7 Oct. 2020 Both R8s are supercharged and fitted with custom exhaust systems. David Curcurito, Car and Driver, "Runnin’ with the Devil: Eddie Van Halen Shreds Tires, Too," 6 Oct. 2020 Mace-Turner has since moved on to launch another wellness company, Mab & Stoke, which produces custom herbal supplements tabs, in 2019. Rachel King, Fortune, "The founder of wellness startup Mab & Stoke on the growth of ‘pay what you can’ options during the pandemic," 20 Sep. 2020 The semi-custom homes are each proposed for 11,500-square-foot lots. Cathy Kozlowicz, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A Menomonee Falls golf course, banquet center could turn into a 440-home subdivision, if officials approve," 4 Aug. 2020

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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Learn More about custom

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

7 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Custom.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
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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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