Custom is caused by moral values, rules and norms in a particular social group or community standard, and for individuals to be deemed binding force of values ​​(see Ferdinand Tönnies, The custom, 1908). Usually it is based on tradition and custom ( = " custom "). Custom is more than habit; there are ( sometimes called bad habit ) as scored badly habits.

Custom is also the colloquial short form of moral police.

" Custom" and " morals "

The custom (Latin mos ) in the singular is accordingly ( morality, morality, modesty, decency ) in the sense of moral authority understood as the totality of moral values ​​and rules ( heteronomy ). Morality is the outward behavior in society, where you can be inwardly disagree. It is then: something is custom or the custom wants and demands something. In this sense, the motto of custom and costume of the ancients / we want to get understood.

In the plural under morals (Latin mores ) refers to individual standards, eg in the form of courtesy, the custom table (s) or the Hofsitte (s). Customs have cultural reference, that is, they usually apply in relation to a geographical- temporal space ( cf. proverb, english " Other countries, other customs! ": "If in Rome, do as the Romans DO. " ). To an outsider, it may therefore seem odd or strange.

Legal meaning

The word custom is used as a legal concept and then has legal significance. The German Basic Law assigns in Article 2, Paragraph 1 of the Basic Law points to the moral law, which must be interpreted as indeterminate legal concept. In the German civil law, for example, is defined by § 138 BGB, which can be understood as " immoral transaction". The law speaks of a " violation of public decency ." § 817 German Civil Code regulates how, must be handled with shops that violate public morals. Common usage is the umbrella term for the customs which are used in legal transactions.


Less compelling, often not discussed social practices are also referred to as service. Even human manners, behaviors and rules (eg manners ) covered. In rural areas, it refers to the traditional way of life.

Customs, etc. may be old or new, good or bad, beautiful or rough / wild, strict / rigid or loose. Customs respects you, preserves or maintains them, keeps them ( a ) violates or breaks it is repugnant to them, adds or submits to them. By the time they are loosened or tightened but. They are all subject to social change.

As a result, one can behave immoral also. In this respect, there are people who watch over the "ruling " permanently or as a fashion morals, they are colloquially referred to as moral guardians. In addition, there is a department of criminal investigation, which is concerned with morals offenses. This was formerly and still colloquially known today as " the custom " ( religious police ).

In the subjective judgment about another person, this may be the case that one accuses someone he had no manners ( immorality ). The behavior itself is then perceived as a bad habit. Of manners is from this perception out then also spoken by decay. In the 17th century, the term was coined Magdeburgisierung as a synonym for the brutalization of morals (especially in war ) after the massacre of Magdeburg.

Political Correctness can be defined as compliance with verbal manners.

Differences in the manners of different nations are the foundation of national stereotypes.

Internet search engines (eg Google), Facebook, Twitter and the ubiquity of cell phone cameras and digital cameras have pushed the boundaries of private and public. The author, columnist and essayist Harald Stein Mart wrote in 2012:

" Any halfway interesting person and each everyday action [ is ] now a subject of almost continuous observation .., not least because the reader reporter, but also because of the thousand possibilities of the Internet and because of cell phone cameras. But above all, because the man is a curious creature, and because the curiosity about how every need, can be used economically in a commodity society. Before the virtue ... watch no one is safe, not the young people with age- typical experience hunger, not the husband goes astray, not even the young mother. "