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 guardianship (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

The bill, which failed, would have created a standardized consent form for guardians, outlining basics such as the use of gloves, before a minor could undergo any treatment involving vaginal or anal penetration. NBC News, "Some lawmakers want pelvic exam consent forms to protect against sex abuse," 23 Aug. 2019 At least 46 of those will be armed guardians, with most of the other positions being unarmed school security staff, largely in elementary schools. Scott Travis,, "Broward School Board still dislikes plan for addressing mental health crisis," 2 Aug. 2019 The Border Patrol is dealing with a massive increase in the number of families and children who cross into the U.S. without parents or legal guardians, resulting in strained resources and dangerously overcrowded border detention facilities. Astrid Galvan,, "Border patrol boss joined Facebook group whose members mocked migrants to read what they said about her," 25 July 2019 The guardian, Rebecca Fierle, had only been given legal authority over Davidson’s finances and estate, court records show. Monivette Cordeiro,, "Unauthorized DNRs spark concerns for other clients of Orlando guardian — 'I don’t want to die’ | Exclusive," 19 July 2019 Mysogland said the standards for child abuse or neglect apply equally to anyone who is responsible for children — parents, guardians, teachers and other professionals. Josh Kovner,, "DCF will interview teacher, parents and children as it investigates complaint against Avon magnet school teacher," 12 July 2019 Minors will be held there until picked up by a parent or guardian, who may be subject to a parental violation ticket. Micah Walker, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit fireworks 2019: How to watch the show, what to know," 21 June 2019 The former guardian and her attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday. Monivette Cordeiro,, "Investigations of embattled guardian Rebecca Fierle include Medicaid fraud allegations," 14 Aug. 2019 Another bill filed by Democrats would expand the state’s red-flag law to add parents, grandparents, spouses, siblings and guardians to those who can petition the courts to seize firearms. Skyler Swisher,, "Democrats want gun control to be considered during Florida Senate’s mass shooting review," 14 Aug. 2019

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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Statistics for guardian

Last Updated

3 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for guardian

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

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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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