Definition of guardian in US English:



  • 1A defender, protector, or keeper.

    ‘self-appointed guardians of public morality’
    • ‘The guardians were the protectors of the living pharaoh.’
    • ‘These are guardians, defending Buddhism from those that would harm it.’
    • ‘As grown-ups we are able to exercise choice. These self-appointed moral guardians seem to think they have the right to ban that choice.’
    • ‘Individual rights can be protected only by independent guardians operating in the public light.’
    • ‘Instead of acting as guardians and protectors, those in power are posing serious threats to the safety and security of our country and its citizens.’
    • ‘They are the protectors and guardians of this land and they will prove great allies for us.’
    • ‘These publicity-seeking, self-appointed guardians of our morals have no right to dictate to us what we shall or shall not do.’
    • ‘For centuries, despite forays into excesses and hypocrisy, the Church acted as a guardian of private and public morality.’
    • ‘When the putative guardians of public morality put the screws to crime and horror comics, distributors refused to put them on newsstands.’
    • ‘The film revolves round a martial arts master who comes to America in search of the next guardian who would protect the powerful scroll in his possession.’
    • ‘There are eight guardians who protect these eight weapons, and they all must be defeated before ownership can be claimed.’
    • ‘There are two strong guardians to protect against this: fear and shame.’
    • ‘Every 500 hundred years new guardians are chosen to protect Earth and it's people.’
    • ‘As self-appointed guardians of public sensibility, these organisations get to draw the line on what is acceptable.’
    • ‘Contrary to popular belief, dragons were guardians and protectors, not rampaging monsters.’
    • ‘And he's the guardian and protector of our barbecue, to make sure that everything is strictly kosher.’
    • ‘And where are the guardians and protectors of all that is right and good in western medicine?’
    • ‘Whenever these self-appointed guardians of alcoholic and architectural merit get involved, an elitist macho tone taints proceedings.’
    • ‘Self-appointed guardians of orthodoxy in any number of faiths could use the legislation to harass dissidents within their own communities.’
    • ‘This judge has failed time and time again to properly apply the laws put in place by the people of Florida for the purpose of protecting Wards from unscrupulous guardians.’
    protector, defender, preserver, champion, custodian, warden, guard, keeper
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A person who looks after and is legally responsible for someone who is unable to manage their own affairs, especially an incompetent or disabled person or a child whose parents have died.
      • ‘Children have the right to live in a safe and secure environment and it is the responsibility of their parents and guardians to provide this environment.’
      • ‘Parents or guardians for the children were responsible for completing the instrument.’
      • ‘And as parents or guardians of young people it's important that we stay aware of what's happening out there, no matter how unsavoury.’
      • ‘The parents or guardians of such young mothers should also reflect upon their responsibilities towards their children and grandchildren.’
      • ‘The freedom from coercion to have or to adopt a religion or belief and the liberty of parents and guardians to ensure religious and moral education cannot be restricted.’
      • ‘If so the patient may be unable to instruct a solicitor and will require a guardian ad litem in any court proceedings.’
      • ‘Then the court will decide who must take care of minor children unless the parents have appointed a guardian.’
      • ‘Family members are parents or guardians of children who attend the pre-school group.’
      • ‘It is the responsibility of parents and guardians to control and monitor what their children view.’
      • ‘No adult should be permitted to take a child from her parent or guardian, and then take away her nascent free will.’
      • ‘Regulations 7 and 8 spell out an adoption agency's duties in respect of a child, his parents or guardian and prospective adopter.’
      • ‘You see, a good number of parents and guardians in this part of town just couldn't manage to get their kids to school on time (let alone feed them breakfast).’
      • ‘Parents or guardians responded for children aged less than 13.’
      • ‘As his parents and his legal guardians, we must stay in Australia to represent him in his case.’
      • ‘New clause 4A states that the child's parents and guardians should have the primary responsibility for the child's care.’
      • ‘Children go into care when their current parent or guardian is unable to look after them, or if the child's health, safety or well-being is at risk.’
      • ‘Corporal punishment of children occurs primarily during the education process or at the hands of parents or guardians.’
      • ‘Such procedural rights were extended only to parents, guardians and custodians.’
      • ‘Orphans were placed under the protection of a guardian by means of action taken by a sanctuary.’
      • ‘Only parents, guardians or teachers of young people would be able to call in the police in this way, said a Conservative spokesman.’
    2. 1.2 The superior of a Franciscan convent.


Late Middle English: from Old French garden, of Germanic origin; compare with ward and warden. The ending was altered by association with -ian.