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 In the salon of Amaro Sánchez de Moya’s apartment in Seville, Spain, the 19th-century French sofa is in a Nobilis fabric, the wicker chairs are American, and the cocktail table is custom. Cynthia Frank, ELLE Decor, "Amaro Sánchez de Moya Became a Master of Illusion in His New Seville Apartment," 18 Nov. 2020 Their Smart Lawn Plan is custom to fit the needs of your grass and includes a soil test to help find soil deficiencies. Colin Daniels, Chron, "Exclusive Deal: $15 off Sunday's winter prep lawn care plan," 13 Nov. 2020 Self-driving taxis from companies like Alphabet's Waymo and GM's Cruise are custom-designed for that purpose. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Tesla raises “full self-driving” price from $8,000 to $10,000," 30 Oct. 2020 These partnerships are custom-designed by their members. Rhaina Cohen, The Atlantic, "When a Friend Is Your Life Partner," 20 Oct. 2020 Actress Busy Philipps posted a photo on her Instagram wearing two of the Dannijo bracelets, which are custom-made with tiny crystals. Amanda Tarlton, USA TODAY, "Where to buy ‘vote’ merch, as seen on Taylor Swift, Michelle Obama, and more," 19 Oct. 2020 The goggles will all be custom-made, the US Army said, with each dog in the trial scanned in 3D so developers can understand where to position the optics and electrical components. Sara Spary, CNN, "The US military is trialing augmented reality goggles for dogs," 9 Oct. 2020 The other, a string of blue Millefiori glass beads, was custom-made for the singer via his stylist Harry Lambert. Eliza Huber,, "Instagram’s Favorite Jewelry Brand Is Now Harry Styles-Approved," 28 Sep. 2020 This four-month process was custom designed as a compromise by the Founding Fathers, who did not believe the American people should directly choose the president and vice president, but did not want to give Congress the power of selection either. Arkansas Online, "OPINION | AMY DACEY: Who declares the presidential winner?," 27 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective 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 Currently under construction, this custom two-story home features approximately 6,279 square feet of living space, five bedrooms, five bathrooms and two half-bathrooms and is situated on a 70-by-160-foot lot. Dallas News, "Alford Homes readies Southern-style residence," 21 June 2020 Jazzy June Bug, working with vendors, has made custom cloth masks for churches, schools, restaurants, hair salons and banks. Bob Sandrick, cleveland, "Face mask sales helps Jazzy June Bug, a North Royalton boutique, survive in the COVID-19 era," 1 June 2020 Moonpig has clever, custom graduation cards that incorporate a photo and words of praise. oregonlive, "Happy graduation: Send congratulations, gifts safely from a distance," 17 May 2020 In fact, a couple of employees have sewed custom masks for staff members. John Benson, cleveland, "Geiger’s planning May 12 reopening of Lakewood, Chagrin Falls and Cleveland stores," 4 May 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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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

25 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Custom.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 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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