child custody


noun Law.

Nearby words

  1. chilcat,
  2. child,
  3. child abuse,
  4. child benefit,
  5. child bride,
  6. child endowment,
  7. child guidance,
  8. child labor,
  9. child labor laws,
  10. child labour


[ kuhs-tuh-dee ]
/ ˈkʌs tə di /

noun, plural cus·to·dies.

keeping; guardianship; care.
the keeping or charge of officers of the law: The car was held in the custody of the police.
imprisonment; legal restraint: He was taken into custody.
Also called child custody. Law. the right of determining the residence, protection, care, and education of a minor child or children, especially in a divorce or separation.Compare joint custody, sole custody.

Origin of custody

1400–50; late Middle English custodye < Latin custōdia “a watching, watchman,” equivalent to custōd- (stem of custōs) “keeper” + -ia -y3


Synonym study

1. Custody, keeping, possession imply a guardianship or care for something. Custody denotes a strict keeping, as by a formally authorized and responsible guardian or keeper: in the custody of the sheriff. Keeping denotes having in one's care or charge, as for guarding or preservation: I left the package in my mother's keeping. Possession means holding, ownership, or mastery: Leave it in possession of its owner. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for child-custody

British Dictionary definitions for child-custody


/ (ˈkʌstədɪ) /

noun plural -dies

the act of keeping safe or guarding, esp the right of guardianship of a minor
the state of being held by the police; arrest (esp in the phrases in custody, take into custody)
Derived Formscustodial (kʌˈstəʊdɪəl), adjective

Word Origin for custody

C15: from Latin custōdia, from custōs guard, defender

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

Word Origin and History for child-custody



mid-15c., from Latin custodia "guarding, watching, keeping," from custos (genitive custodis) "guardian, keeper, protector," from PIE *(s)keu- "to cover, conceal" (see hide (n.1)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper