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. Paul Ryan:

    Under this bill, when people are being prosecuted for illegally crossing the border, families will remain together under DHS custody throughout the length of their legal proceedings.

  2. Lindsay Toczylowski:

    What we've seen is a lack of discussion for ICE when deciding whether or not they are going to take a kid into custody.

  3. Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby:

    The secretary also had a chance to discuss with Minister Blaszczak the proposal to send MiG-29 fighter aircraft to Ukraine and, specifically, the notion of doing so by a way of transfer to U.S. custody, secretary Austin thanked the minister for Poland’s willingness to continue to look for ways to assist Ukraine, but he stressed that we do not support the transfer of additional fighter aircraft to the Ukrainian air force at this time and therefore have no desire to see them in our custody either.

  4. Fabio Canesin:

    These solutions will provide infrastructure and services immensely superior to what is currently available in virtually all areas of the cryptocurrency industry. From payments to trading and custody, everything is improving at an impressive rate.

  5. The Justice Department:

    Stephen Alford is currently being held in the custody of the United States Marshals Service.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for custody

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"custody." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 13 Jun 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/custody>.

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