a person who guards, protects, or preserves.
Law. a person who is entrusted by law with the care of the person or property, or both, of another, as a minor or someone legally incapable of managing his or her own affairs.
the superior of a Franciscan convent.
guarding; protecting: a guardian deity.

1375–1425; late Middle English gardein < Anglo-French. See warden

guardianless, adjective
underguardian, noun

1. protector, defender.

Guardian is occasionally pronounced with two syllables and with stress on the final syllable: [gahr-deen] . This pronunciation is now most characteristic of older, less educated speakers. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
guardian (ˈɡɑːdɪən)
1.  one who looks after, protects, or defends: the guardian of public morals
2.  a.  law someone legally appointed to manage the affairs of a person incapable of acting for himself, as a minor or person of unsound mind
 b.  social welfare (in England) a local authority, or person accepted by it, named under the Mental Health Act 1983 as having the powers to require a mentally disordered person to live at a specified place, attend for treatment, and be accessible to a doctor or social worker
3.  (often capital) (in England) another word for custos
4.  protecting or safeguarding

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Example sentences
We became committed to rearing the world's first totally benevolent guardian
Top of the list is the technical expertise and track record to be a credible
  guardian against inflation.
Guardian proteins, found in all forms of life, keep a wide variety of cellular
  processes running smoothly.
We'll send a personalized card with instructions so a parent or guardian can
  help them create a map at their convenience.
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