What does custody mean?

Definitions for custody
ˈkʌs tə dicus·tody

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word custody.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. detention, detainment, hold, custodynoun

    a state of being confined (usually for a short time)

    "his detention was politically motivated"; "the prisoner is on hold"; "he is in the custody of police"

  2. custodynoun

    holding by the police

    "the suspect is in custody"

  3. hands, custodynoun

    (with `in') guardianship over; in divorce cases it is the right to house and care for and discipline a child

    "my fate is in your hands"; "too much power in the president's hands"; "your guests are now in my custody"; "the mother was awarded custody of the children"


  1. custodynoun

    The legal right to take care of something or somebody, especially children.

    The court awarded custody to the child's father.

  2. custodynoun

    Temporary possession or care of somebody else's property.

    I couldn't pay the bill and now my passport is in custody of the hotel management.

  3. custodynoun

    The state of being imprisoned or detained, usually pending a trial.

    He was mistreated while in police custody.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Custodynoun

    Etymology: custodia, Latin.

    The council remonstranced unto queen Elizabeth I the conspiracies against her life, and therefore they advised her, that she should go less abroad weakly attended, as she used; but the queen answered, she had rather be dead than put in custody. Francis Bacon, Apophthegms.

    For us enslav’d, is custody severe,
    And stripes, and arbitrary punishment
    Inflicted? John Milton, Paradise Lost, b. ii. l. 335.

    Under the custody and charge of the sons of Merari, shall be the boards of the tabernacle. Num. iii. 36.

    We being strangers here, how dar’st thou trust
    So great a charge from thine own custody. William Shakespeare.

    An offence it were, rashly to depart out of the city committed to their custody. Richard Knolles, History of the Turks.

    There is generally but one coin stampt upon the occasion, which is made a present to the person who is celebrated on it: by this means the whole fame is in his own custody. Addison.

    There was prepared a fleet of thirty ships for the custody of the narrow seas. Francis Bacon, War with Spain.


  1. custody

    Custody is the protective care or guardianship of someone or something. It typically refers to the legal rights and responsibilities a parent has towards a child, but it can also refer to the control or possession of an asset, object, or a person by law enforcement or a legal authority.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Custodynoun

    a keeping or guarding; care, watch, inspection, for keeping, preservation, or security

  2. Custodynoun

    judicial or penal safe-keeping

  3. Custodynoun

    state of being guarded and watched to prevent escape; restraint of liberty; confinement; imprisonment

  4. Etymology: [L. custodia, fr. custos guard; prob. akin to Gr. to hide, and E. hide. Seee Hide to cover.]


  1. Custody

    Custody is a 2007 Lifetime television movie, starring Rob Morrow, James Denton, and Kay Panabaker about a widower's fight for custody of his stepdaughter when her birth father who abandoned her returns. Aired on September 8, 2007. It was filmed in and around Ottawa, ON on locations such as the University of Ottawa, Rideau Canal, and Le Chateau Montebello. It was based on the book "Figures of Echo", by Mary S. Herczog.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Custody

    kus′to-di, n. a watching or guarding: care: security: imprisonment.—adj. Custō′dial.—ns. Custō′dian, Cus′tode, Custō′dier, Cus′tos, one who has care, esp. of some public building. [L. custodia, from custos, custodis, a keeper.]

Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms

  1. custody

    1. The responsibility for the control of, transfer and movement of, and access to, weapons and components. Custody also includes the maintenance of accountability for weapons and components. 2. Temporary restraint of a person.

Matched Categories

British National Corpus

  1. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'custody' in Nouns Frequency: #2308

How to pronounce custody?

How to say custody in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of custody in Chaldean Numerology is: 1

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of custody in Pythagorean Numerology is: 8

Examples of custody in a Sentence

  1. Duncan Hunter:

    Bergdahl was in the custody of Haqqani initially, not the Taliban. But regardless of who claimed custody of Bergdahl in the end, is the Taliban not an adversary? is the Taliban not responsible for American deaths? Frankly, it's more nonsense from an administration that seems to have lost its sense of reality.

  2. Said Brown:

    I said, Bobby Joe Long in custody, you always tell me to be careful, but whats going on out there in Tampa Bay ? and Bobby Joe Long in custody said, Thats why I tell you, because you never know.

  3. Irwin Redlener:

    If I was running the training for agents, I'd say, William Schaffner're acting as a parental surrogate and as such have to pay attention as if this were William Schaffner own child, the government has taken custody of these children, and they have to own that responsibility. Irwin Redlener can't just take custody without responsibility.

  4. Birmingham Police Department:

    Due to their diligent work a person of interest has been taken into custody. Charges are pending a review of the case by the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office. Because the charges are pending we will not be releasing any information on the individual in custody.

  5. Ronald Reagan:

    I think the presidency is an institution over which you have temporary custody.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for custody

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • حبسArabic
  • Sorgerecht, Aufbewahrung, Verwahrung, Obhut, HaftGerman
  • hallussapito, huosta, huoltajuus, pidätysFinnish
  • gardeFrench
  • 養育権, 預かり, 保管Japanese
  • 拘留Korean
  • omsorgsrettNorwegian
  • omsorgsrettNorwegian Nynorsk
  • опе́ка, заключе́ние, содержа́ние, содержание под стражей, хранение, попече́ниеRussian
  • sorumluluk, gözaltına alınmak, vesayet, gözaltıTurkish

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"custody." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 1 Oct. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/custody>.

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