[ truh-dish-uhn ]
See synonyms for: traditiontraditions 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 American South.

  1. a long-established or inherited way of thinking or acting: The rebellious students wanted to break with tradition.

  2. a continuing pattern of culture beliefs or practices.

  3. a customary or characteristic method or manner: The winner took a victory lap in the usual track tradition.

  4. Theology.

    • (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.

    • (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.

    • (among Muslims) a hadith.

  5. Law. an act of handing over something to another, especially in a formal legal manner; delivery; transfer.

Origin of tradition

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English tradicion, from Old French, from 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

Other words for tradition

Other words from tradition

  • tra·di·tion·less, adjective
  • an·ti·tra·di·tion, adjective
  • coun·ter·tra·di·tion, noun
  • non·tra·di·tion, noun
  • pro·tra·di·tion, adjective

Words Nearby tradition Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use tradition in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for tradition


/ (trəˈdɪʃən) /

  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

  1. a specific custom or practice of long standing

  2. Christianity a doctrine or body of doctrines regarded as having been established by Christ or the apostles though not contained in Scripture

  3. (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

  4. the beliefs and customs of Islam supplementing the Koran, esp as embodied in the Sunna

  5. law, mainly Roman law Scots law the act of formally transferring ownership of movable property; delivery

Origin of tradition

C14: from Latin trāditiō a handing down, surrender, from trādere to give up, transmit, from trans- + dāre to give

Derived forms of tradition

  • traditionless, adjective
  • traditionist, noun

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