[ kuhs-tuhm ]
/ ˈkʌs təm /
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See synonyms for: custom / customs on Thesaurus.com

made specially for individual customers: custom shoes.
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()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 for custom

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. 2023


What does custom mean?

As a noun, custom means a longstanding practice of a person (such as a daily habit) or a group (such as a cultural practice).

As an adjective, custom describes something made to unique specifications, especially something one of a kind. Its synonym is custom-made.

The word customs with an s refers to fees paid on imported goods, or the government department that handles such things. It is also the name of the checkpoint in the airport where incoming luggage and goods are inspected for prohibited items.

Example: When I travel abroad, it’s my custom to bring home a custom-made souvenir that highlights the artistic customs of the people who live in that place. The items are usually very unique, which often leads to a lot of questions when I go through customs at the airport!

Where does custom come from?

Custom has been in use in English since at least 1200. It comes from the Middle English custume, from the Old French costume, tracing all the way back to the Latin consuēscere, which means “to grow accustomed to” and comes from the Latin suēscere, “to be used to.”

Sociologists tend to think of customs as cultural habits that are passed down from generation to generation. A similar word is tradition. For Americans, a common Thanksgiving custom is having a large dinner, especially turkey. Customs vary from place to place based on the culture, and the word is often used in phrases like local custom and national custom. Customs can also be personal, such as getting a coffee on the way to work every day, or eating at the same restaurant every Friday. Relatedly, the word customer is based on the same root, and the regular customers of a business are sometimes referred to collectively as its custom (though this usage is uncommon).

Custom as an adjective means that something was made or prepared especially for you. A trendy way of saying this is bespoke.

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What are some other forms related to custom?

  • customs (noun)

What are some synonyms for custom?

What are some words that share a root or word element with custom



What are some words that often get used in discussing custom?


How is custom used in real life?

Custom as a noun is often used in discussion of the things that people do over and over again, typically because they enjoy them. As an adjective, it refers to something made to order.



Try using custom!

Is custom used correctly in the following sentence?

It’s my custom to sit down each night before bed and read a chapter of a book.

How to use custom in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for custom

/ (ˈkʌstəm) /

made to the specifications of an individual customer (often in the combinations custom-built, custom-made)
specializing in goods so made
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