cus·​tom·​ary ˈkə-stə-ˌmer-ē How to pronounce customary (audio)
: commonly practiced, used, or observed
customary acts of courtesy
his customary enthusiasm
: based on or established by custom
customary laws
customariness noun
Choose the Right Synonym for customary

usual, customary, habitual, wonted, accustomed mean familiar through frequent or regular repetition.

usual stresses the absence of strangeness or unexpectedness.

my usual order for lunch

customary applies to what accords with the practices, conventions, or usages of an individual or community.

the customary waiting period before the application is approved

habitual suggests a practice settled or established by much repetition.

a habitual morning routine

wonted stresses habituation but usually applies to what is favored, sought, or purposefully cultivated.

his wonted determination

accustomed is less emphatic than wonted or habitual in suggesting fixed habit or invariable custom.

accepted the compliment with her accustomed modesty

Examples of customary in a Sentence

He forgot the customary “thank you.” It is customary to hold the door open for someone who is entering a building behind you. She dressed in her customary fashion. He did the work with his customary efficiency.
Recent Examples on the Web In India, he was told that the burning of widows was customary. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, 12 Feb. 2024 On Tuesday, three days ahead of Lunar New Year’s Eve, when families typically gather for a customary reunion meal, travelers made 2.2 million air trips and 12.9 million journeys by rail, according to official data. Simone McCarthy, CNN, 9 Feb. 2024 As has become customary, the 2024 Grammys was largely about the performances, with a handful of awards thrown in as if a reminder. Jon Blistein, Rolling Stone, 5 Feb. 2024 Soto said the three contributions amounted to somewhat less than the $2 million that López Nájera had claimed, a discrepancy the agents attributed to customary skimming. Tim Golden, ProPublica, 31 Jan. 2024 But instead of Barkov holding down his customary role as Florida’s top-line center, Panthers coach Paul Maurice slotted Barkov on the third line between wingers Evan Rodrigues and Mackie Samoskevich. Jordan McPherson, Miami Herald, 25 Jan. 2024 As is customary, political elements play a prominent role. Nick Vivarelli, Variety, 22 Jan. 2024 What’s In The Release Unlike the last couple of updates, which were all about bug fixes and security measures, iOS 17.2 has lots of new features as well as the customary bug-squishing effects. David Phelan, Forbes, 11 Dec. 2023 On Wednesday night, Trump returned briefly to Iowa to take part in his customary counter-programming while the other G.O.P. candidates did the Party’s official debate at Drake University across town. Antonia Hitchens, The New Yorker, 15 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'customary.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


see custom entry 1

First Known Use

1552, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of customary was in 1552

Dictionary Entries Near customary

Cite this Entry

“Customary.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


cus·​tom·​ary ˈkəs-tə-ˌmer-ē How to pronounce customary (audio)
: based on or established by custom
customary rent
: commonly done, observed, or used
her customary kindness
customary courtesies
customarily adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on customary

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!