guard·​ian | \ ˈgär-dē-ən How to pronounce guardian (audio) \

Definition of guardian

1 : one that guards : custodian
2 : a superior of a Franciscan monastery
3 : one who has the care of the person or property of another

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Other Words from guardian

guardianship \ ˈgär-​dē-​ən-​ˌship How to pronounce guardian (audio) \ noun

Examples of guardian in a Sentence

After the death of her parents, her uncle was appointed as her legal guardian. the state became his guardian when he was put into protective custody
Recent Examples on the Web They are released from government custody after a guardian provides dozens of pages of documents and is screened, to ensure that the children are not being trafficked and will be safe. New York Times, "‘No Place for a Child’: Inside the Tent Camp Housing Thousands of Migrant Children," 30 Mar. 2021 The teenager appeared with a guardian for his arraignment, and his name was not given due to his age. Kaelan Deese, Washington Examiner, "Juvenile suspect in killing of Virginia girl held without bond," 29 Mar. 2021 Youths must have a guardian with them to receive testing. cleveland, "Connecting veterans to community services; donate to help Cleveland police spread holiday cheer: Press Run," 13 Nov. 2020 Andre now has a new guardian and a safe place to live. Star Tribune, "Ordinary acts of kindness offer welcome COVID-19 relief," 24 Oct. 2020 Henry gets sober and becomes a loving guardian to Flora and Miles. Jenny Hollander, Marie Claire, "The Ending of 'The Haunting of Bly Manor,' Explained," 9 Oct. 2020 Probate Judge Kathryn George appointed Caring Hearts Michigan as guardian and conservator for Robert Lee Mitchell and Barbara Delbridge, despite a petition submitted by the couple's daughter and stepdaughter. Christina Hall, Detroit Free Press, "Guardianship company to end operations as part of settlement in controversial Macomb case," 18 Sep. 2020 Have a parent, guardian or teacher fill out the form at and upload your artwork. Washington Post, "Spring into action as a KidsPost weather artist," 26 Mar. 2021 Children under 18 must be in the presence of their parents or guardian and have consent before participating. Coral Murphy Marcos, USA TODAY, "Disney begins testing optional facial recognition for entry to Magic Kingdom," 24 Mar. 2021

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for guardian

Middle English gardein, wardein — more at warden

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Time Traveler for guardian

Time Traveler

The first known use of guardian was in the 15th century

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Statistics for guardian

Last Updated

14 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Guardian.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for guardian



English Language Learners Definition of guardian

: someone or something that watches or protects something
law : someone who takes care of another person or of another person's property


guard·​ian | \ ˈgär-dē-ən How to pronounce guardian (audio) \

Kids Definition of guardian

1 : a person who guards or looks after something : custodian
2 : a person who legally has the care of another person or of another person's property

Other Words from guardian

guardianship \ -​ˌship \ noun


guard·​ian | \ ˈgär-dē-ən How to pronounce guardian (audio) \

Legal Definition of guardian

: one who has or is entitled or legally appointed to the care and management of the person or property of another — compare committee, conservator, curator, receiver, tutor
guardian ad litem \ -​ad-​ˈlī-​təm, -​äd-​ˈlē-​tem \
: a guardian appointed by a court to represent in a particular lawsuit the interests of a minor, a person not yet born, or a person judged incompetent
guardian by nature
: natural guardian in this entry
natural guardian
: a guardian by natural relationship having custody of the person but not the property of a minor

Note: Under common law the father is considered the natural guardian of a child until his death or incapacitation, whereupon the mother becomes the natural guardian. Many states have passed statutes giving both parents equal rights as guardians.

statutory guardian
: a guardian appointed by statutory authority
testamentary guardian
: a person named in a will to serve as a guardian

Other Words from guardian

guardianship noun

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