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’
    • ‘According to the agreements reached, by 2005 Bulgaria commits to provide transparent operation of the customs services.’
    • ‘Companies must deposit the tariffs at Chinese customs in order to import the goods, the ministry said.’
    • ‘Second is Mullah Abdur Razzaq, a founding member of the Taliban, who rose to head of the customs department and then interior minister.’
    • ‘Although precise calculations could not be made, rough estimates show a deteriorating collection rate in the customs offices.’
    • ‘So I was not surprised to discover that there are still problems with the tax and customs departments.’
    • ‘Strikes by coal miners, tax collectors and customs officials are also expected to take place over the next few weeks.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Stewart needs jobs, and so welcomes all the customs officers and government officials and employees it can get.’
    • ‘The customs collects VAT, which is the main revenue donor to the budget.’
    • ‘Most of the money collected by customs comes from import duties on mineral fuels, petrol, gas, machinery, equipment and automobiles.’
    • ‘Career trade negotiators who set tariff rates have little contact with the customs officers who collect the money.’
    • ‘The key witness is the customs official who on duty at Brisbane Airport.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The customs officers are to levy tolls in a wilderness, and the soldiers are there to protect them.’
    • ‘Earlier, the customs officials who confiscated such imported publications had to oversee its destruction.’
    • ‘Their products also underwent unusually strict customs checks and Chinese officials also harassed their workers, Yen said.’
    1. 1.1 The place at a port, airport, or frontier where officials check incoming goods, travelers, or luggage.
      ‘arriving refugees were whisked through customs’
      • ‘We then headed downstairs to baggage claim, retrieved our luggage and went through customs.’
      • ‘Once you've checked in, and before you go through customs, check out the shops at the far end of the check-in area.’
      • ‘This will substantially reduce the congestion at the customs counters in arrival halls of international airports.’
      • ‘This would have disguised the smell from dogs used by customs officials to check for drugs.’
      • ‘The declaration of a customs free zone in Port Said also attracted many returnees and new migrants.’
      • ‘According to authorities, Braude flew into JFK airport in June and the artefacts were discovered during a routine customs check.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Clearing customs at an airport terminal, Wilkinson insists on pushing a luggage trolley.’
      • ‘At the airport, however, there was no customs check, and there were no immigration officials.’
      • ‘He added that along with the inspection of aircraft, the police squads are double-checking all luggage passing through customs.’
      • ‘If that is not all, the customs check is yet to commence.’
      • ‘Richard and I proceeded through the customs check to the Swissair counter.’
      • ‘Faiza Memon has no problems passing though the immigration desk or clearing the customs ' check.’
      • ‘Russian customs worked pretty much the same way as customs at any airport.’
      • ‘There was further surprise in that he was not intercepted at the airport boundary customs post, one mile from the terminal buildings.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘When I passed through Sheremetevo airport in August the customs were just like any other country's.’
      • ‘Much of counterfeit items are seized at ports by customs.’
      • ‘It may be about 7pm by the time I claim my luggage and check out the customs.’
      • ‘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.’
    2. 1.2 The duties levied by a government on imported goods.
      • ‘The state has been losing $1.2 billion a year in unpaid customs and excise duties, according to Dimitrov.’
      • ‘And, I might add, the ignominy of being caught evading customs duty on several lakhs worth of luxury goods.’
      • ‘He also recalled that recently the Government imposed protective customs duty on imported vegetables and fruit.’
      • ‘What was a luxury turned out to be a necessity at one stage, thanks to the slash in sales tax, customs duty and tariff.’
      • ‘In pursuit of that objective, they sometimes cut corners - as, allegedly, BAT did when it attempted to avoid customs duty.’
      • ‘Woolworths has appealed to the Government to reduce customs duty because it is pushing prices of imported goods to very high levels.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Imports of nitrogen fertilisers are currently charged a 25 per cent customs duty.’
      • ‘The customs duty on imports was at first designed only to raise revenue.’
      • ‘The peak rate of customs duty has been left untouched at 20 per cent.’
      • ‘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 importation of arts and crafts from Brazil will normally give rise to customs duty.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Developing countries must reduce customs and other duties on imports by 24 per cent to facilitate imports at cheaper prices.’
      • ‘Because you seem to have imported the car into Bulgaria, you have to pay customs duty when you return to Turkey.’
      • ‘To make power affordable, we were expecting elimination of customs duty on import of fuels for power generation and other sops.’
      • ‘The Patels also paid the Indian customs duty on the gold.’
      • ‘Mr. Aiyar has also asked the ministry to exempt domestic cooking gas LPG and kerosene from customs and excise duties.’
      • ‘On alloy steel, copper, zinc and lead the customs duty has been reduced from 20 per cent to 15 per cent.’
      import taxes
      duties, levies, dues, tolls, tariffs, imposts
      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.