• synonyms


[kuhs-tuh m]
See more synonyms for custom on Thesaurus.com
  1. a habitual practice; the usual way of acting in given circumstances.
  2. habits or usages collectively; convention.
  3. a practice so long established that it has the force of law.
  4. such practices collectively.
  5. Sociology. a group pattern of habitual activity usually transmitted from one generation to another.
  6. toll; duty.
  7. customs,
    1. (used with a singular or plural verb)duties imposed by law on imported or, less commonly, exported goods.
    2. (used with a singular verb)the government department that collects these duties.
    3. (used with a singular verb)the section of an airport, station, etc., where baggage is checked for contraband and for goods subject to duty.
  8. regular patronage of a particular shop, restaurant, etc.
  9. the customers or patrons of a business firm, collectively.
  10. the aggregate of customers.
  11. (in medieval Europe) a customary tax, tribute, or service owed by peasants to their lord.
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  1. made specially for individual customers: custom shoes.
  2. dealing in things so made, or doing work to order: a custom tailor.
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Origin of custom

1150–1200; Middle English custume < Anglo-French; Old French costume < Vulgar Latin *co(n)s(uē)tūmin-, replacing Latin consuētūdin- (stem of consuētūdō), equivalent to consuēt(us) accustomed, past participle of consuēscere (con- con- + suē- (akin to suus one's own) + -tus past participle suffix) + -ūdin- noun suffix; cf. costume

Synonym study

1, 2. Custom, habit, practice mean an established way of doing things. Custom, applied to a community or to an individual, implies a more or less permanent continuance of a social usage: It is the custom to give gifts at Christmas time. Habit, applied particularly to an individual, implies such repetition of the same action as to develop a natural, spontaneous, or rooted tendency or inclination to perform it: to make a habit of reading the newspapers. Practice applies to a set of fixed habits or an ordered procedure in conducting activities: It is his practice to verify all statements.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for custom

characteristic, practice, rule, procedure, habit, style, system, policy, rite, method, fashion, shot, manner, observance, use, way, routine, usage, swim, form

Examples from the Web for custom

Contemporary Examples of custom

Historical Examples of custom

  • I supposed this to be a custom with the colored population of Turkey, and passed on.

  • The conditions are appalling, but, according to the custom of the country, they are "moral."

  • As was his custom, he wore no overcoat, but a short sweater under his coat.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • His hand came under my chin as his custom was in giving orders.

    The Trail Book

    Mary Austin

  • This is the custom of the Indians when they are about to fight,--they hide their families.

    The Trail Book

    Mary Austin

British Dictionary definitions for custom


  1. a usual or habitual practice; typical mode of behaviour
  2. the long-established habits or traditions of a society collectively; conventioncustom dictates good manners
    1. a practice which by long-established usage has come to have the force of law
    2. such practices collectively (esp in the phrase custom and practice)
  3. habitual patronage, esp of a shop or business
  4. the customers of a shop or business collectively
  5. (in feudal Europe) a tribute paid by a vassal to his lord
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  1. made to the specifications of an individual customer (often in the combinations custom-built, custom-made)
  2. specializing in goods so made
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See also customs

Word Origin for custom

C12: from Old French costume, from Latin consuētūdō, from consuēscere to grow accustomed to, from suēscere to be used to
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 custom


c.1200, "habitual practice," from Old French costume "custom, habit, practice; clothes, dress" (12c., Modern French coutume), from Vulgar Latin *consuetumen, from Latin consuetudinem (nominative consuetudo) "habit, usage, way, practice, tradition, familiarity," from consuetus, past participle of consuescere "accustom," from com-, intensive prefix (see com-), + suescere "become used to, accustom oneself," related to sui, genitive of suus "oneself," from PIE *swe- "oneself" (see idiom). Replaced Old English þeaw. Sense of a "regular" toll or tax on goods is early 14c. The native word here is toll.

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"made to measure or order," c.1830, from custom (n.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper