From Middle English custume, borrowed from Anglo-Norman custume, from Old French coustume, from a Vulgar Latin *cōnsuētūmen or *costūmen, from Latin cōnsuētūdinem, accusative singular of cōnsuētūdō (custom, habit), from cōnsuēscō (accustom, habituate), from con- (with) + suēscō (become used or accustomed), inchoative form of sueō (I am accustomed), perhaps from suus (one's own, his own); see consuetude. Displaced native Middle English wune, wone (custom, habit, practice) (from Old English wuna (custom, habit, practice, rite)), Middle English side, sid (custom) (from Old English sidu, sido (custom, note, manner)), Middle English cure (custom, choice, preference) (from Old English cyre (choice, choosing, free will)).

Doublet of costume. Doublet of consuetude.


  • IPA(key): /ˈkʌstəm/
  • (file)


custom (countable and uncountable, plural customs)

  1. Frequent repetition of the same behavior; way of behavior common to many; ordinary manner; habitual practice; method of doing, living or behaving.
  2. Traditional beliefs or rituals
    The Ancient Egyptian culture had many distinctive and interesting beliefs and customs.
  3. (Britain) Habitual buying of goods; practice of frequenting, as a shop, factory, etc., for making purchases or giving orders; business support.
    • September 28, 1710, Joseph Addison, The Whig Examiner No. 3
      Let him have your custom, but not your votes.
  4. (law) Long-established practice, considered as unwritten law, and resting for authority on long consent; usage. See Usage, and Prescription.
    • 1888, Wharton, Francis, A Commentary on the Law of Evidence in Civil Issues, volume 2, third edition, page 188:
      The distinction between custom and usage it that usage is a fact and custom is a law. There can be usage without custom, but not custom without usage.
  5. (obsolete) Familiar acquaintance; familiarity.
  6. (archaic, uncountable) toll, tax, or tribute.
    • 1769, Bible, Authorised King James Version, Oxford standard text, Romans, xiii, 7:
      Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.




custom (not comparable)

  1. Created under particular specifications, specially to fit one's needs: specialized, unique, custom-made
    My feet are very large, so I need custom shoes.
  2. Own, personal, not standard or premade
    We can embroider a wide range of ready designs or a custom logo.
  3. (archaic) accustomed; usual

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custom (third-person singular simple present customs, present participle customing, simple past and past participle customed)

  1. (obsolete, transitive) To make familiar; to accustom.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Gray to this entry?)
  2. (obsolete, transitive) To supply with customers.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Francis Bacon to this entry?)
  3. (obsolete, transitive) To pay the customs of.
  4. (obsolete, intransitive) To have a custom.

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