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.
Recent Examples on the Web The Targaryens had a long tradition of incestuous marriages dating back to their time in Old Valyria. Tracy Brown, Los Angeles Times, 12 June 2024 Lunar New Year, the beginning of the new year based on the lunisolar calendar, is almost here and the unique celebration has many festivities and traditions along with it. Marina Johnson, The Indianapolis Star, 12 June 2024 Vietnam, securing the second spot, captivated travelers with its blend of modernity and tradition. Brianna Kamienski, The Arizona Republic, 12 June 2024 Revitalizing Ojibwe culture and traditions Last month, dozens of Ojibwe from different bands in Wisconsin spent the day on a frozen Pelican Lake in Oneida County, telling stories around holes dug through the ice, waiting for a chance to spear a musky. Steven Martinez, Journal Sentinel, 11 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for tradition 

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 17 Jun. 2024.

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

More from Merriam-Webster on tradition

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!