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 Winners will receive a cash prize, a custom ARTFUL trophy, and bragging rights. cleveland, "Annual Pancake Breakfast with the Birds at Shaker Nature Center is Feb. 29: Press Run," 14 Feb. 2020 The custom piece is a tiny angel with broken wings being pulled upwards by doves, and is in the artist’s tiny realism style. Tanya Edwards,, "Demi Lovato Reveals The Meaning Behind Her Upper-Back Tattoo," 12 Feb. 2020 So forget the flowers that will wilt in a week and get a custom message that will hold your loved one's interest for at least as long. TheWeek, "Sean Spicer will send your loved ones a custom Valentine's Day message for just $199," 12 Feb. 2020 Arab women, long relegated to the private sphere by law and social custom, are gaining new access to public life. Alainna Liloia, The Conversation, "Women in Arab countries find themselves torn between opportunity and tradition," 11 Feb. 2020 At least one segment of the market—custom robots for warehouses, mines, and other industrial sites—is starting to buy lidar sensors in significant volume. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "How lidar makers are coping with slow progress of self-driving tech," 11 Feb. 2020 The Simple Living Marketplace will pop up in both locations, displaying local services like custom windows, solar power, homey security, and keys, and guests will be treated to live music, food, and beer. Dakota Kim, Sunset Magazine, "Love Tiny Houses? You Won’t Want to Miss This Festival," 10 Feb. 2020 They were presented with custom Pacers Hickory jerseys before exiting to more applause. Akeem Glaspie, Indianapolis Star, "Bob Knight wraps up emotional day at Indiana Pacers game," 9 Feb. 2020 The six-position buttstock has an adjustable cheek rest for a custom fit, and the gun can pull double-duty on turkeys (check magazine capacity laws for hunting in your area). Joseph Albanese, Field & Stream, "Best Cheap Guns of SHOT Show 2020," 7 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Dressed by her go-to stylist, Andrew Mukamal, Kravitz wore custom peach Oscar de la Renta, set off by white gloves that reached her upper arms. Emily Dixon, Marie Claire, "Zoë Kravitz Nailed Old Hollywood Glamor in Full-Length Gloves at the SAG Awards," 20 Jan. 2020 Since the '80s, Shepard's worked extensively on Gallaher's gear, including his two vintage Gibson Flying Vs, a pair of Fender Stratocasters, oddball Japanese axes and even custom cigar-box guitars. Matt Wake |, al, "An Alabama guitar craftsman’s next chapter," 17 Jan. 2020 The first-time Grammy winner matched her neon green hair with her custom head-to-toe Gucci ensemble, which sparkled beneath the red carpet lights. Bianca Gracie, Billboard, "Here Are the 10 Best Red Carpet Looks From the 2020 Grammys," 26 Jan. 2020 Brown wore custom Louis Vuitton silk Taffeta coat dress and pants on Sunday. Jodi Guglielmi,, "Millie Bobby Brown Says She's Becoming 'Stronger' as She Gets Older: 'I'm Still Growing'," 19 Jan. 2020 Often one of the first mods enthusiasts make to personalize their car is custom wheels. Jeff Yip, Houston Chronicle, "Goodies will give your favorite automotive enthusiast some thrills," 29 Nov. 2019 Patrons can pick up their custom passport at Visit Lorain County, 8025 Leavitt Road, Amherst, or at one of the participating locations. Marc Bona, cleveland, "Burger Battle and Cupcake Crawl under way," 15 Oct. 2019 The home comes with contemporary design features that include custom light fixtures, limestone flooring and a series of glass walls throughout the home. Ebony Day, azcentral, "Rental car exec, surgical oncologist, horse farm owner among buyers of this week's priciest properties," 16 Dec. 2019 The condo has a master bedroom with a large walk-in closet and a steam shower, Elfa organizers in both bedroom closets, and a kitchen with custom dark wood, soft-close Robern cabinets, granite and stainless steel appliances. Bob Goldsborough,, "Tom Skilling sold a condo in Edgewater in January — and the buyers have listed it again," 29 Oct. 2019

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

19 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Custom.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for custom


How to pronounce custom (audio)

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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