1. safekeeping, charge, watch. Custody, keeping, possession imply a guardianship or care for something. Custody denotes a strict keeping, as by a formally authorized and responsible guardian or keeper: in the custody of the sheriff. Keeping denotes having in one's care or charge, as for guarding or preservation: I left the package in my mother's keeping. Possession means holding, ownership, or mastery: Leave it in possession of its owner.