[kuhs-tuh m]



made specially for individual customers: custom shoes.
dealing in things so made, or doing work to order: a custom tailor.

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. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for customs


Examples from the Web for customs

Contemporary Examples of customs

Historical Examples of customs

  • They thought their own habits and customs just a trifle better than those of anybody else.

    Ancient Man

    Hendrik Willem van Loon

  • It is curious to observe how customs and ceremonies degenerate.

  • Manners and customs change no less quickly than headgear and skirts.

    In the Heart of Vosges

    Matilda Betham-Edwards

  • The baron guessed at this circumstance from the customs of that age, and happened to be in the right.

    Maid Marian

    Thomas Love Peacock

  • There was in this man an Oriental nobility choked by Western fashion and customs.

    My Double Life

    Sarah Bernhardt

British Dictionary definitions for customs


noun (functioning as singular or plural)

duty on imports or exports
the government department responsible for the collection of these duties
the part of a port, airport, frontier station, etc, where baggage and freight are examined for dutiable goods and contraband
the procedure for examining baggage and freight, paying duty, etc
(as modifier)customs officer



a usual or habitual practice; typical mode of behaviour
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)
habitual patronage, esp of a shop or business
the customers of a shop or business collectively
(in feudal Europe) a tribute paid by a vassal to his lord


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

Word Origin and History for customs



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



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper