tra·​di·​tion | \ trə-ˈdi-shən How to pronounce tradition (audio) \

Definition of tradition

1a : an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior (such as a religious practice or a social custom)
b : a belief or story or a body of beliefs or stories relating to the past that are commonly accepted as historical though not verifiable … the bulk of traditions attributed to the Prophet …— J. L. Esposito
2 : the handing down of information, beliefs, and customs by word of mouth or by example from one generation to another without written instruction
3 : cultural continuity in social attitudes, customs, and institutions
4 : characteristic manner, method, or style in the best liberal tradition

Other Words from tradition

traditionless \ trə-​ˈdi-​shən-​ləs How to pronounce tradition (audio) \ adjective

Examples of tradition in a Sentence

One of our town's time-honored traditions is to have an Easter egg hunt the week before Easter. It is their tradition to give thanks before they start eating. There's an office tradition of wearing casual clothes on Fridays. They no longer follow the traditions of their ancestors. We broke with tradition and had goose for Thanksgiving instead of turkey. By tradition, the celebration begins at midnight. They no longer follow tradition. According to tradition, the goddess lies sleeping beneath the mountain. See More
Recent Examples on the Web In part, this continued the tradition of sailors naming ships after the gender mostly absent on them. Rivka Galchen, The New Yorker, 8 Aug. 2022 The Cubs decided to keep the tradition after ‘98, and now every celebrity who comes to town with something to promote has been asked to sing at Wrigley, some on multiple occasions. Paul Sullivan, Chicago Tribune, 7 Aug. 2022 Mets fans taunted the second-place Braves in the ninth inning of Game 2 by performing the tomahawk chop, a tradition at games in Atlanta despite complaints from some Native American groups that the chant is degrading. Larry Fleisher, ajc, 7 Aug. 2022 The oral tradition was disrupted in the 1800s, due to the impacts of the Spanish Catholic mission system when traditional Kumeyaay religious practices were forcibly replaced by Christian ideology. San Diego Union-Tribune, 6 Aug. 2022 On Saturday, a tradition that began in 2017 continued with the Daphne Youth Football Camp at Trione Park. Mark Inabinett |, al, 6 Aug. 2022 Stuart, who preached on every continent, carried on this tradition with many of his grandchildren. Hannah Kirby, Journal Sentinel, 6 Aug. 2022 It’s just like a family tradition of being together as a brotherhood. Gary Washburn,, 6 Aug. 2022 Road & Track's John Pearley Huffman continues Window Shop's tradition of featuring a Buick someone has surely been murdered within. John Pearley Huffman, Car and Driver, 5 Aug. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tradition.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of tradition

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for tradition

Middle English tradicioun, from Middle French & Latin; Middle French tradicion, from Latin tradition-, traditio action of handing over, tradition — more at treason

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Time Traveler for tradition

Time Traveler

The first known use of tradition was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near tradition

trading stamp



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Statistics for tradition

Last Updated

10 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Tradition.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for tradition


tra·​di·​tion | \ trə-ˈdi-shən How to pronounce tradition (audio) \

Kids Definition of tradition

1 : the handing down of information, beliefs, or customs from one generation to another
2 : a belief or custom handed down from one generation to another



Legal Definition of tradition

in the civil law of Louisiana : transfer or acquisition of property especially by delivery with intent of both parties to transfer the title delivery of the act of transfer or use of the right by the owner of the dominant estate constitutes traditionLouisiana Civil Code

History and Etymology for tradition

French, legal transfer

More from Merriam-Webster on tradition

Nglish: Translation of tradition for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tradition for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about tradition


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