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[gahr-dee-uh n] /ˈgɑr di ən/
a person who guards, protects, or preserves.
Law. a person who is entrusted by law with the care of the person or property, or both, of another, as a minor or someone legally incapable of managing his or her own affairs.
the superior of a Franciscan convent.
guarding; protecting:
a guardian deity.
Origin of guardian
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English gardein < Anglo-French. See warden
Related forms
guardianless, adjective
underguardian, noun
1. protector, defender.
Pronunciation note
Guardian is occasionally pronounced with two syllables and with stress on the final syllable:
[gahr-deen] /gɑrˈdin/ (Show IPA).
This pronunciation is now most characteristic of older, less educated speakers. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for guardian
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Let me beseech you, Madam, to be the guardian of my reputation!

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9) Samuel Richardson
  • But before that, Katy, I led my guardian into the room, and showed him everything.

    Her Father's Daughter Gene Stratton-Porter
  • My guardian, John Gilman, is engaged to marry my sister Eileen.

    Her Father's Daughter Gene Stratton-Porter
  • Could it be that Agnes, her guardian angel, was angry in the knowledge that she was happy?

    The Dream Emile Zola
  • My physician and my guardian, not knowing what else to do with me, sent me abroad.

British Dictionary definitions for guardian


one who looks after, protects, or defends: the guardian of public morals
  1. (law) someone legally appointed to manage the affairs of a person incapable of acting for himself, as a minor or person of unsound mind
  2. (social welfare) (in England) a local authority, or person accepted by it, named under the Mental Health Act 1983 as having the powers to require a mentally disordered person to live at a specified place, attend for treatment, and be accessible to a doctor or social worker
(often capital) (in England) another word for custos
protecting or safeguarding
Derived Forms
guardianship, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for guardian

early 14c., garden; early 15c., gardein, from Anglo-French gardein (late 13c.), from Old French gardien "keeper, custodian," earlier guarden, from Frankish *warding- (see guard (n.)). Guardian angel is from 1630s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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