Definition of customary in English:


Line breaks: cus¦tom|ary
Pronunciation: /ˈkʌstəm(ə)ri


  • 1According to the customs or usual practices associated with a particular society, place, or set of circumstances: it is customary to mark an occasion like this with a toast
    More example sentences
    • It is customary for local associations to make decisions on such matters as membership sales and nomination deadlines, the former MLA said.
    • It is customary to associate the march of reason with a rejection of ritual and ceremony.
    • It is customary for artists to perceive themselves as the conscience of society.
  • 1.1 [attributive] According to a person’s habitual practice: I put the kettle on for our customary cup of coffee
    More example sentences
    • She was drinking her customary cup of coffee, and looked up at me when I entered.
    • After a training session on the beach at Filey the players also enjoyed their now customary pre-FA Cup match meal of fish and chips at the Three Tuns pub in the seaside town.
    • In Europe many people drink a cup of this herbal tea as their customary nightcap to relax them before going to bed.
  • 1.2 Law Established by or based on custom rather than common law or statute.
    More example sentences
    • The ICC Statute codifies international customary laws in another respect as well.
    • In 1995, the government established a legal system based on English common law and customary law.
    • It is based on centuries of customary international law.
  • 1.3(In South Africa) relating to black African traditional custom or law.
    More example sentences
    • The Act defines a customary marriage as one negotiated, celebrated or concluded in terms of any of the systems of indigenous African customary law in South Africa.

noun (plural customaries)

historical Back to top  
  • another term for custumal.
    More example sentences
    • After the initial customaries, and reminiscing about the holiday, he proceeded to tell me about his life.
    • Yet all these customaries were a mere preamble.
    • Things that would otherwise be impossible to say are precisely suggested by just the degree of deviation from the expected or the customary.


late Middle English (as a noun): from medieval Latin custumarius, from custuma, from Anglo-Norman French custume (see custom).

More definitions of customary

Definition of customary in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day kerf
Pronunciation: kəːf
a slit made by cutting with a saw