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 school safety bill signed by Gov. Rick Scott includes a voluntary guardian program. James Call, USA TODAY, "Florida lawmakers stiff schools on safety program funds. Is arming teachers the only option?," 10 Mar. 2018 There was no parent or guardian present on the scene and the child showed no signs of trauma, police said. Ryan Gaydos, Fox News, "Dead baby pulled from New York City's East River after apparently being tossed from Brooklyn Bridge, cops say," 6 Aug. 2018 Here are savvy, open-minded eaters aligned with a refugee who—even while unmoored and grasping for security—is a guardian of culinary wisdom in danger of vanishing. Grant Cornett, Vogue, "The Rise of Refugee Cuisine—a Food-World Trend to Feel Good About," 17 Aug. 2018 Falmagne is also the guardian of Bruno Fernando, a childhood friend of De Sousa's from Angola who played for Maryland last season. Jesse Newell, kansascity, "KU's Silvio De Sousa mentioned in FBI subpoena sent to Maryland basketball," 6 July 2018 The guardians - who are normal citizens, not officers of the law - train from morning 'til night. CBS News, "Meet some of the everyday people training to take down school shooters," 13 June 2018 Republicans skewed toward a more cynical and isolationist view that America was the guardian of its own democracy, but not responsible for the internal affairs of other nations. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Trump’s Disdain for Democracy Promotion," 6 Mar. 2018 He was charged Friday night and released into the custody of a parent or guardian, Officer Jose Jara said. Barnini Chakraborty, Fox News, "Amid new shootings, Chicago girds for yet another weekend of crime and violence," 18 Aug. 2018 Alternatively, a parent may opt to have ORR pursue release of the child to another parent, guardian, or sponsor who has been approved by ORR. Dara Lind, Vox, "ICE agents pressured parents to be deported with their children — then separated them again when they refused," 29 July 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.

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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

19 Mar 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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the range of authority or knowledge

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