See more synonyms for tradition on
  1. 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.
  2. something that is handed down: the traditions of the Eskimos.
  3. a long-established or inherited way of thinking or acting: The rebellious students wanted to break with tradition.
  4. a continuing pattern of culture beliefs or practices.
  5. a customary or characteristic method or manner: The winner took a victory lap in the usual track tradition.
  6. Theology.
    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.
  7. 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 formstra·di·tion·less, adjectivean·ti·tra·di·tion, adjectivecoun·ter·tra·di·tion, nounnon·tra·di·tion, nounpro·tra·di·tion, adjective

Synonyms for tradition

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for tradition

Contemporary Examples of tradition

Historical Examples of tradition

  • Tradition vaits for years to ripen vine and make it perfect.

  • 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


  1. the handing down from generation to generation of the same customs, beliefs, etc, esp by word of mouth
  2. the body of customs, thought, practices, etc, belonging to a particular country, people, family, or institution over a relatively long period
  3. a specific custom or practice of long standing
  4. Christianity a doctrine or body of doctrines regarded as having been established by Christ or the apostles though not contained in Scripture
  5. (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
  6. the beliefs and customs of Islam supplementing the Koran, esp as embodied in the Sunna
  7. law, mainly Roman law Scots law the act of formally transferring ownership of movable property; delivery
Derived Formstraditionless, adjectivetraditionist, noun

Word Origin for tradition

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

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