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

Jana spends countless hours pairing World War II and Korean veterans with guardians who will accompany them on what is often a spiritual and emotional day. Caryn M. Sullivan, Twin Cities, "Caryn M. Sullivan: The heart and muscle behind Honor Flight Twin Cities," 4 July 2019 Once the children are transferred to the facility, staff aim to contact their parents or guardians within 24 hours so they can be placed with them while awaiting the outcome of their immigration cases. James Barragán, Dallas News, "Newly minted child detention center in rural Texas draws about 100 at first protest," 3 July 2019 In fact, all guests must be over 18 years old to board, and those between 18 and 21 must travel with a relative or guardian who is 25 or older. Janine Rubenstein,, "See Cardi Perform for the First Time Since Court Appearance on Bahamian Days of Summer Cruise," 30 June 2019 The Homestead Shelter for Unaccompanied Children houses up to 3,200 children, although currently only about 2,500 are residents awaiting release to legal guardians. Kathy Laskowski,, "5 things to watch in Thursday’s Democratic debate in Miami," 27 June 2019 Her worthiness was like a public statue of the unknown soldier; her commemoration should be the safekeeping of educators and cultural guardians who make sure that students and the public receive proper information about our cultural heritage. Armond White, National Review, "Lillian Gish’s Genius Will Outlast Ava DuVernay and the Canon Wreckers," 26 June 2019 One worker, the hairstylist, returned $15,000 to Watanabe and was subsequently removed from the lawsuit, according to the public guardian’s office. Elyssa Cherney,, "‘She doesn’t have anyone else’: Internment camp survivor’s supporters urge charges against nursing home workers accused of stealing her life savings," 26 June 2019 Most should have quickly been released to a parent, relative or guardian who is already in the United States. Eugene Robinson, The Mercury News, "Robinson: Humanitarian crisis at the border is of Trump’s making," 25 June 2019 The breed takes it name from a mountain range in southwestern Europe where the dogs traditionally were used as livestock guardians to protect flocks and herds. Stephen Hudak,, "Sweet 16! Great Pyrenees dog gives birth to 16 pups.," 24 June 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

9 Jul 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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Comments on guardian

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