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[truh-dish-uh n] /trəˈdɪʃ ən/
the handing down of statements, beliefs, legends, customs, information, etc., from generation to generation, especially by word of mouth or by practice:
a story that has come down to us by popular tradition.
something that is handed down:
the traditions of the Eskimos.
a long-established or inherited way of thinking or acting:
The rebellious students wanted to break with tradition.
a continuing pattern of culture beliefs or practices.
a customary or characteristic method or manner:
The winner took a victory lap in the usual track tradition.
  1. (among Jews) body of laws and doctrines, or any one of them, held to have been received from Moses and originally handed down orally from generation to generation.
  2. (among Christians) a body of teachings, or any one of them, held to have been delivered by Christ and His apostles but not originally committed to writing.
  3. (among Muslims) a hadith.
Law. an act of handing over something to another, especially in a formal legal manner; delivery; transfer.
Origin of tradition
1350-1400; Middle English tradicion < Old French < Latin trāditiōn- (stem of trāditiō) a handing over or down, transfer, equivalent to trādit(us), past participle of trādere to give over, impart, surrender, betray (trā-, variant of trāns- trans- + -ditus, combining form of datus given; see date1) + -iōn- -ion
Related forms
traditionless, adjective
antitradition, adjective
countertradition, noun
nontradition, noun
protradition, adjective
2. custom, practice, habit, convention, usage. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for tradition
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • tradition vaits for years to ripen vine and make it perfect.

    The Bacillus of Beauty Harriet Stark
  • But the reception they got departed from tradition and propriety.

    The Secret Agent Joseph Conrad
  • What science would say about it, I do not know; tradition was quite voluble.

    Tiverton Tales Alice Brown
  • For him, tradition reigned, and law was ever laying out the way.

    Tiverton Tales Alice Brown
  • One could even believe she had reigned a beauty, as the tradition of the house declared.

    Meadow Grass Alice Brown
British Dictionary definitions for tradition


the handing down from generation to generation of the same customs, beliefs, etc, esp by word of mouth
the body of customs, thought, practices, etc, belonging to a particular country, people, family, or institution over a relatively long period
a specific custom or practice of long standing
(Christianity) a doctrine or body of doctrines regarded as having been established by Christ or the apostles though not contained in Scripture
(often capital) (Judaism) a body of laws regarded as having been handed down from Moses orally and only committed to writing in the 2nd century ad
the beliefs and customs of Islam supplementing the Koran, esp as embodied in the Sunna
(law, mainly Roman law, Scots law) the act of formally transferring ownership of movable property; delivery
Derived Forms
traditionless, adjective
traditionist, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Latin trāditiō a handing down, surrender, from trādere to give up, transmit, from trans- + dāre to give
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for tradition

late 14c., from Old French tradicion (late 13c.), from Latin traditionem (nominative traditio) "delivery, surrender, a handing down," from traditus, past participle of tradere "deliver, hand over," from trans- "over" (see trans-) + dare "to give" (see date (n.1)). The word is a doublet of treason (q.v.). The notion in the modern sense of the word is of things "handed down" from generation to generation.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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