[ kuhs-tuhm ]
See synonyms for: customcustoms on

  1. a habitual practice; the usual way of acting in given circumstances.

  2. habits or usages collectively; convention.

  1. a practice so long established that it has the force of law.

  2. such practices collectively.

  3. Sociology. a group pattern of habitual activity usually transmitted from one generation to another.

  4. toll; duty.

  5. customs,

    • (used with a singular or plural verb) duties imposed by law on imported or, less commonly, exported goods.

    • (used with a singular verb) the government department that collects these duties.

    • (used with a singular verb) the section of an airport, station, etc., where baggage is checked for contraband and for goods subject to duty.

  6. regular patronage of a particular shop, restaurant, etc.

  7. the customers or patrons of a business firm, collectively.

  8. the aggregate of customers.

  9. (in medieval Europe) a customary tax, tribute, or service owed by peasants to their lord.

  1. made specially for individual customers: custom shoes.

  2. dealing in things so made, or doing work to order: a custom tailor.

Origin of custom

First recorded in 1150–1200; Middle English custume, from Anglo-French; Old French costume, from Vulgar Latin co(n)s(uē)tūmin- (unrecorded), replacing Latin consuētūdin-, stem of consuētūdō “habit, practice, tradition,” from consuē(tus) “accustomed” (past participle of consuēscere “to accustom onself,” from con- con- + suēscere “to become accustomed,” akin to suus “one's own”) + -tūdō -tude;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.

Words Nearby custom Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use custom in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for custom


/ (ˈkʌstəm) /

  1. a usual or habitual practice; typical mode of behaviour

  2. the long-established habits or traditions of a society collectively; convention: custom dictates good manners

    • a practice which by long-established usage has come to have the force of law

    • such practices collectively (esp in the phrase custom and practice)

  1. habitual patronage, esp of a shop or business

  2. the customers of a shop or business collectively

  3. (in feudal Europe) a tribute paid by a vassal to his lord

  1. made to the specifications of an individual customer (often in the combinations custom-built, custom-made)

  2. specializing in goods so made

Origin of 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