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custom

[kuhs-tuh m]
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noun
  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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adjective
  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

tax

Examples from the Web for customs

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • 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

customs

noun (functioning as singular or plural)
  1. duty on imports or exports
  2. the government department responsible for the collection of these duties
  3. the part of a port, airport, frontier station, etc, where baggage and freight are examined for dutiable goods and contraband
  4. the procedure for examining baggage and freight, paying duty, etc
  5. (as modifier)customs officer
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custom

noun
  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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adjective
  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

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

custom

adj.

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

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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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper