Definition of consuetude in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈkänswəˌt(y)o͞od/


An established custom, especially one having legal force.
Example sentences
  • The Moderns were frequently critical of Progress, not because they favoured old verities and consuetudes, but because Progress attempted to pass itself off as Nature, or as History itself.
  • Obviously, consuetude and orality still retained their primary role: a huge number of institutional, personal, and juridical relationships were never sanctioned in written form.
  • We conclude by discussing the implications of consuetude for political and social behavior.



Pronunciation: /ˌkänswəˈt(y)o͞od(ə)nerē/
Example sentences
  • The consuetudinary law and traditional memory of the Lombards, which had been preserved for centuries through the means typical of oral cultures, needed a new and stronger foundation: they became texts written in Latin.
  • But modernity is fuelled by secularization: in our times, political authority must be not merely the enforcer of natural or consuetudinary law, but rather the producer of law.
  • In 1452, Bizkaians assembled beneath their sacred Oak of Gernika and approved the Fuero Viejo de Bizkaia, the Old Law of Bizkaia: a redaction of the consuetudinary laws and customs that had informed their legal practices for centuries.


Late Middle English: from Old French, or from Latin consuetudo (see custom).

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: con·sue·tude

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.