tra·​di·​tion trə-ˈdi-shən How to pronounce tradition (audio)
: an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior (such as a religious practice or a social custom)
: 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
: the handing down of information, beliefs, and customs by word of mouth or by example from one generation to another without written instruction
: cultural continuity in social attitudes, customs, and institutions
: characteristic manner, method, or style
in the best liberal tradition
traditionless 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 While first-generation fiber artists traveled the globe studying with local artisans, today’s practitioners are more likely to rely on their own histories and cultural traditions. Julia Halperin, New York Times, 11 Sep. 2023 But what emerged from it was remarkable: Two double-hulled sailing canoes that helped revive and perpetuate Hawaii’s ancient voyaging tradition. Karin Brulliard, Washington Post, 11 Sep. 2023 Similar markets take place in Aurora and Wrigleyville, Illinois, and all have musical performances and family-friendly activities for kids, including free Kinder Club passports, which contain riddles to educate little ones about German culture and tradition. Skye Sherman, Travel + Leisure, 11 Sep. 2023 Attendance has been declining for years in the Episcopal Church and other faith traditions. Jonathan M. Pitts, Baltimore Sun, 11 Sep. 2023 Helmed by Alejandro Lozano, this endearing Spanish-language Christmas film intertwines three separate stories of families and friends grappling between tradition and progression, trying to discern which is most important. Sophia Scorziello, Variety, 10 Sep. 2023 With the race entering its traditional ramp-up after Labor Day, Trump has largely skipped holding town halls or participating in many of the state’s cherished campaign traditions, but has not paid a price so far. Thomas Beaumont and Hannah Fingerhut, Chicago Tribune, 9 Sep. 2023 The young people of Mongolia are caught between centuries of tradition and the demands of the modern world in City of Wind, the new film and first full-length feature from award-winning shorts director Lkhagvadulam Purev-Ochir (Snow in September, Mountain Cat). Scott Roxborough, The Hollywood Reporter, 9 Sep. 2023 That ranks them third, behind white evangelical and Orthodox traditions as the most likely to watch the network. Andy Larsen, The Salt Lake Tribune, 9 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'tradition.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near tradition

Cite this Entry

“Tradition.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


tra·​di·​tion trə-ˈdish-ən How to pronounce tradition (audio)
: the handing down of information, beliefs, or customs from one generation to another
: a belief or custom handed down by tradition

Middle English tradicioun "tradition," from early French tradicion (same meaning) and Latin tradition-, traditio "the action of handing over, tradition," — related to treason see Word History at treason

Legal Definition


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

French, legal transfer

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