Definition of customs in English:


plural noun

  • 1The official department that administers and collects the duties levied by a government on imported goods.

    ‘cocaine seizures by customs have risen this year’
    as modifier ‘a customs officer’
    • ‘Companies must deposit the tariffs at Chinese customs in order to import the goods, the ministry said.’
    • ‘According to the agreements reached, by 2005 Bulgaria commits to provide transparent operation of the customs services.’
    • ‘Most of the money collected by customs comes from import duties on mineral fuels, petrol, gas, machinery, equipment and automobiles.’
    • ‘So I was not surprised to discover that there are still problems with the tax and customs departments.’
    • ‘The customs collects VAT, which is the main revenue donor to the budget.’
    • ‘The key witness is the customs official who on duty at Brisbane Airport.’
    • ‘Earlier, the customs officials who confiscated such imported publications had to oversee its destruction.’
    • ‘Strikes by coal miners, tax collectors and customs officials are also expected to take place over the next few weeks.’
    • ‘Stewart needs jobs, and so welcomes all the customs officers and government officials and employees it can get.’
    • ‘The customs officers are to levy tolls in a wilderness, and the soldiers are there to protect them.’
    • ‘Second is Mullah Abdur Razzaq, a founding member of the Taliban, who rose to head of the customs department and then interior minister.’
    • ‘Since September they have conducted over 800 checks at almost all customs offices across the country.’
    • ‘In the department of customs and immigration the vast majority of returning St Lucians say there needs to be a more friendly face to greet arriving passengers.’
    • ‘He said he was pleased by the work done by Crown Agents, the British company that is acting as a consultant to the customs service.’
    • ‘Their products also underwent unusually strict customs checks and Chinese officials also harassed their workers, Yen said.’
    • ‘Although precise calculations could not be made, rough estimates show a deteriorating collection rate in the customs offices.’
    • ‘Career trade negotiators who set tariff rates have little contact with the customs officers who collect the money.’
    1. 1.1 The place at a port, airport, or frontier where officials check incoming goods, travellers, or luggage.
      ‘we were through customs with a minimum of formalities’
      • ‘Russian customs worked pretty much the same way as customs at any airport.’
      • ‘When I passed through Sheremetevo airport in August the customs were just like any other country's.’
      • ‘The declaration of a customs free zone in Port Said also attracted many returnees and new migrants.’
      • ‘Faiza Memon has no problems passing though the immigration desk or clearing the customs ' check.’
      • ‘This will substantially reduce the congestion at the customs counters in arrival halls of international airports.’
      • ‘The protests follow the discovery of the slaughtered birds in an Italian lorry during a customs check at the Udvari border crossing point to Croatia.’
      • ‘Clearing customs at an airport terminal, Wilkinson insists on pushing a luggage trolley.’
      • ‘It may be about 7pm by the time I claim my luggage and check out the customs.’
      • ‘According to authorities, Braude flew into JFK airport in June and the artefacts were discovered during a routine customs check.’
      • ‘Once you've checked in, and before you go through customs, check out the shops at the far end of the check-in area.’
      • ‘Willie worked as a home finance adviser for Barclays Bank and used names from a database at work to help the drug smugglers get through airport customs checks.’
      • ‘We then headed downstairs to baggage claim, retrieved our luggage and went through customs.’
      • ‘This would have disguised the smell from dogs used by customs officials to check for drugs.’
      • ‘If that is not all, the customs check is yet to commence.’
      • ‘I had to leave you alone in the sun when customs was checking our gear in Iraq, ever since then you haven't been right.’
      • ‘There was further surprise in that he was not intercepted at the airport boundary customs post, one mile from the terminal buildings.’
      • ‘At the airport, however, there was no customs check, and there were no immigration officials.’
      • ‘Richard and I proceeded through the customs check to the Swissair counter.’
      • ‘Much of counterfeit items are seized at ports by customs.’
      • ‘He added that along with the inspection of aircraft, the police squads are double-checking all luggage passing through customs.’
    2. 1.2 The duties levied by a government on imported goods.
      ‘an inflow of customs duties to the Treasury’
      ‘from 1374 Chaucer worked as controller of customs on wool in the port of London’
      • ‘To make power affordable, we were expecting elimination of customs duty on import of fuels for power generation and other sops.’
      • ‘The peak rate of customs duty has been left untouched at 20 per cent.’
      • ‘Developing countries must reduce customs and other duties on imports by 24 per cent to facilitate imports at cheaper prices.’
      • ‘The crown leased the collection of customs and excise duties to syndicates of tax farmers, who paid a cash advance and often an interest free loan as security to the king.’
      • ‘The customs duty on imports was at first designed only to raise revenue.’
      • ‘What was a luxury turned out to be a necessity at one stage, thanks to the slash in sales tax, customs duty and tariff.’
      • ‘The importation of arts and crafts from Brazil will normally give rise to customs duty.’
      • ‘Mr. Aiyar has also asked the ministry to exempt domestic cooking gas LPG and kerosene from customs and excise duties.’
      • ‘Of course, there is no real comparison between a government choosing to waive customs duty on its own accord and a person actually being involved in a case of tax fraud.’
      • ‘In pursuit of that objective, they sometimes cut corners - as, allegedly, BAT did when it attempted to avoid customs duty.’
      • ‘Imports of nitrogen fertilisers are currently charged a 25 per cent customs duty.’
      • ‘On alloy steel, copper, zinc and lead the customs duty has been reduced from 20 per cent to 15 per cent.’
      • ‘He also recalled that recently the Government imposed protective customs duty on imported vegetables and fruit.’
      • ‘He advised against hikes in customs and excise duties and adding to the VAT rate, already amongst the highest in Europe.’
      • ‘Each party is free, however, to determine unilaterally the level of customs duty on imports coming from outside the area.’
      • ‘The state has been losing $1.2 billion a year in unpaid customs and excise duties, according to Dimitrov.’
      • ‘The Patels also paid the Indian customs duty on the gold.’
      • ‘And, I might add, the ignominy of being caught evading customs duty on several lakhs worth of luxury goods.’
      • ‘Woolworths has appealed to the Government to reduce customs duty because it is pushing prices of imported goods to very high levels.’
      • ‘Because you seem to have imported the car into Bulgaria, you have to pay customs duty when you return to Turkey.’
      import taxes
      View synonyms


Late Middle English: originally in the singular, denoting a customary due paid to a ruler, later duty levied on goods on their way to market.