a person who guards, protects, or preserves.
Law. a person who is entrusted by law with the care of the person or property, or both, of another, as a minor or someone legally incapable of managing his or her own affairs.
the superior of a Franciscan convent.


guarding; protecting: a guardian deity.

Origin of guardian

1375–1425; late Middle English gardein < Anglo-French. See warden
Related formsguard·i·an·less, adjectiveun·der·guard·i·an, noun

Synonyms for guardian

Pronunciation note

Guardian is occasionally pronounced with two syllables and with stress on the final syllable: [gahr-deen] /gɑrˈdin/. This pronunciation is now most characteristic of older, less educated speakers. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for guardian

Contemporary Examples of guardian

Historical Examples of guardian

  • Let me beseech you, Madam, to be the guardian of my reputation!

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • But before that, Katy, I led my guardian into the room, and showed him everything.

    Her Father's Daughter

    Gene Stratton-Porter

  • My guardian, John Gilman, is engaged to marry my sister Eileen.

    Her Father's Daughter

    Gene Stratton-Porter

  • Could it be that Agnes, her guardian angel, was angry in the knowledge that she was happy?

    The Dream

    Emile Zola

  • My physician and my guardian, not knowing what else to do with me, sent me abroad.

British Dictionary definitions for guardian



one who looks after, protects, or defendsthe guardian of public morals
  1. lawsomeone legally appointed to manage the affairs of a person incapable of acting for himself, as a minor or person of unsound mind
  2. social welfare(in England) a local authority, or person accepted by it, named under the Mental Health Act 1983 as having the powers to require a mentally disordered person to live at a specified place, attend for treatment, and be accessible to a doctor or social worker
(often capital) (in England) another word for custos


protecting or safeguarding
Derived Formsguardianship, noun
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 guardian

early 14c., garden; early 15c., gardein, from Anglo-French gardein (late 13c.), from Old French gardien "keeper, custodian," earlier guarden, from Frankish *warding- (see guard (n.)). Guardian angel is from 1630s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper