/kus"teuhm/, n.1. a habitual practice; the usual way of acting in given circumstances.2. habits or usages collectively; convention.3. a practice so long established that it has the force of law.4. such practices collectively.5. Sociol. a group pattern of habitual activity usually transmitted from one generation to another.6. toll; duty.7. customs,a. (used with a sing. or pl. v.) duties imposed by law on imported or, less commonly, exported goods.b. (used with a sing. v.) the government department that collects these duties.c. (used with a sing. v.) the section of an airport, station, etc., where baggage is checked for contraband and for goods subject to duty.8. regular patronage of a particular shop, restaurant, etc.9. the customers or patrons of a business firm, collectively.10. the aggregate of customers.11. (in medieval Europe) a customary tax, tribute, or service owed by peasants to their lord.adj.12. made specially for individual customers: custom shoes.13. dealing in things so made, or doing work to order: a custom tailor.[1150-1200; ME custume < AF; OF costume < VL *co(n)s(ue)tumin-, r. L consuetudin- (s. of consuetudo), equiv. to consuet(us) accustomed, ptp. of consuescere (con- CON- + sue- (akin to suus one's own) + -tus ptp. suffix) + -udin- n. suffix; cf. COSTUME]Syn. 1, 2. CUSTOM, HABIT, PRACTICE mean an established way of doing things. CUSTOM, applied to a community or to an individual, implies a more or less permanent continuance of a social usage: It is the custom to give gifts at Christmas time. HABIT, applied particularly to an individual, implies such repetition of the same action as to develop a natural, spontaneous, or rooted tendency or inclination to perform it: to make a habit of reading the newspapers. PRACTICE applies to a set of fixed habits or an ordered procedure in conducting activities: It is his practice to verify all statements.
* * *In law, long-established practice common to many or to a particular place or institution and generally recognized as having the force of law.In England during the Anglo-Saxon period, local customs formed most laws affecting family rights, ownership and inheritance, contracts, and violence between individuals. The Norman conquerors granted the validity of customary law, adapting it to their feudal system. In the 13th and 14th centuries, English law was given statutory authority under the crown, making the "customs of the realm" England's common law. See also culture; folklore; myth; taboo.
* * *▪ English lawin English law, an ancient rule of law for a particular locality, as opposed to the common law of the country. It has its origin in the Anglo-Saxon period, when local customs formed most laws affecting family rights, ownership and inheritance, contracts, and personal violence. The Norman conquerors granted the validity of customary law, adapting it to their feudal system. After the great transformations of the 13th and 14th centuries, when English law was given statutory authority under the crown, the “customs of the realm” became England's common law. Since that time, a local custom outside of common law has been considered valid if it: (1) has been practiced peaceably and continuously from time immemorial—in practice, as long as living testimony can recall; (2) is reasonable, certain, and obligatory; and (3) is confined to a specific locality. With the cultural uniformity of the modern age, custom as a force of law retains its validity, but in practice it has lost ground to common law.
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