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 Many residents in long-term-care facilities have illnesses, like dementia, which means another family member or legal guardian must be contacted to sign off on receiving the injections. Lara Farrar, Arkansas Online, "Pace of shots lags as challenges grow," 1 Jan. 2021 Instead, his counselor successfully lobbied the court to become Cockrell's guardian. NBC News, "Educators saved him during a tough childhood. Now he's Missouri's teacher of the year.," 21 Dec. 2020 But Amy Montopoli, his daughter and legal guardian, did not know that until a Sun Sentinel reporter told her. Andrew Boryga,, "Did COVID-19 kill their loved ones? Families want answers as they get no help from state.," 19 Dec. 2020 With his mother in rehab for an extended period, teenage McElrathbey became the guardian of his younger brother, smuggling him into his dorm room in laundry carts and leaning on teammates and fans for help. Chris Hewitt, Star Tribune, "Disney's 'Safety' is true story of a college athlete forced to hide his baby brother in his dorm," 10 Dec. 2020 Robertson, the guardian ad litem supervisor, was puzzled by the coalition's harsh reaction. USA Today, "Her boyfriend spanked her child. For five years, she’s been paying the price.," 17 Dec. 2020 While at Kentucky, Schlegel looked on as a teammate, who was the legal guardian of his two younger sisters, was evicted from his apartment. Rusty Simmons,, "Meet Cal’s fullback: A mullet-sporting, rugby-playing future alpaca farmer," 11 Dec. 2020 To combat ransomware, however, backups are a critical line of defense—especially for a hospital system that is the guardian of sensitive, personal information. Fortune, "The hacker ‘ceasefire’ with hospitals is over—and that should terrify us," 9 Dec. 2020 In Maricopa County, all children are appointed a guardian ad litem, whose job is to look out for the child's best interest by making reports to the court. Arizona Republic, "Faces of child welfare | Generation Justice: 'We see the holes in the law'," 27 Nov. 2020

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

8 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Guardian.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for guardian


How to pronounce guardian (audio)

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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