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 chief judge oversees one of the world’s largest court systems, its courtroom language interpreters and drug court, the probation and public guardian systems, plus the county juvenile detention center. Chicago Tribune Staff,, "Daywatch: A hidden cost of Chicago police misconduct, Lightfoot reverses one of Emanuel’s last deals and other things to know to start your day," 12 Sep. 2019 Bas-reliefs of fierce guardian monkeys and toothy mythical creatures seem to monitor temple activity. Kareena Gianani, National Geographic, "Explore Cambodia’s ancient stone city," 10 Sep. 2019 With school back in session, parents/guardians are encouraged to pay close attention . Kristi Belcamino, Twin Cities, "Authorities warn of bear spotted in Ramsey County," 9 Sep. 2019 The board will also review revisions and updates to board policies and administrative regulations, including one updated to reflect new law requiring districts to provide an opioid fact sheet to student athletes and parents/guardians. Laura Groch, San Diego Union-Tribune, "On the agenda, Sept. 8," 8 Sep. 2019 On September 2nd Chaguan interviewed Peng Yanzi and Yang Yi, an openly—indeed cheerfully—gay Chinese couple, about their plans to register as one another’s legal guardian. The Economist, "Gay Chinese take a modest first step towards civil unions," 5 Sep. 2019 The same goes for parents and guardians who are picking students up from the bus in the afternoon. Catalina Righter,, "Carroll school system inspects hundreds of buses, asks drivers to heed safety advice," 2 Sep. 2019 Ransom travels to Melacandra (Mars), a planet with a benevolent guardian spirit, the Oyarsa, who presides over creatures untouched by sin. Joseph Loconte, National Review, "C. S. Lewis: Oxford Don vs. the Devil," 31 Aug. 2019 The forest is protected by Indra, being home to his friend Takshaka, and the guardian deity has sent down torrents to foil Agni’s past attempts to devour the Khandava. Girish Shahane, Quartz India, "The Amazon fires have a 3,000-year-old parallel in the Indian epic Mahabharata," 30 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

17 Sep 2019

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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

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


to make a temporary encampment

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