guard·​ian | \ˈgär-dē-ən \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from guardian

guardianship \ ˈgär-​dē-​ən-​ˌship \ 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

Khloe, 36, chose Kim, 37, as True’s legal guardian, and Kourtney, 39, is less than impressed by her decision. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Khloé Kardashian Asked One of Her Sisters to be Baby True's Legal Guardian," 14 Sep. 2018 The aircraft are being slowly taken out of flying condition and made permanently unserviceable, suitable only for gate guardian duty or museums. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "“Retired” F-117 Stealth Fighters Seen Flying Over Nevada," 30 July 2018 All children who are removed are appointed a separate attorney, called a guardian ad litem, who is responsible for protecting the child's best interest. The Republic |, "Understand the system | How Arizona's child-protective services are supposed to work," 13 Apr. 2018 Henderson was appointed the guardian ad litem to represent the divorcing couple's child. Mike Cason,, "Former Jefferson County DA-elect seeks new trial on perjury," 7 Apr. 2018 Unsworth cautioned them that flooding from Northern Thailand’s monsoon season can last into winter, raising the possibility that the kids and their guardians would be perched on the cold, dripping slope for five months. Shibani Mahtani, Washington Post, "‘Time is running out’: Inside the treacherous rescue of boys trapped in a Thai cave," 13 July 2018 He was taken to Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, where he was likely given a temporary home before his guardians were located, said Juana Aguilera, a children’s services administrator. Alejandra Reyes-velarde,, "Police arrest woman in connection with boy abandoned at L.A.'s Union Station," 6 July 2018 Claudia has been a constant in Carson’s quicksand childhood, his legal guardian while Stephens was addicted and homeless; Claudia wrestled him away from his father, who has since been sent to federal prison for drug trafficking. Simon Montlake, The Christian Science Monitor, "For three families, Tulsa experiment offers chance to grasp American dream," 3 July 2018 Later, she was found incompetent and lawyer Eamon Guerin was appointed as her guardian and a probate judge voided the quitclaim deed. Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Judge orders couple charged in scam not to enter elderly woman's home," 28 June 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about guardian

Statistics for guardian

Last Updated

12 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for guardian

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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 \

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 \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on guardian

What made you want to look up guardian? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


something that serves to warn or remind

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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