noun tra·di·tion \ trə-ˈdi-shən \
Updated on: 22 May 2018

Definition of tradition

1 a : 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


play \trə-ˈdish-nəl, -ˈdi-shə-nᵊl\ adjective




play \trə-ˈdi-shən-ləs\ adjective

Examples of tradition in a Sentence

  1. One of our town's time-honored traditions is to have an Easter egg hunt the week before Easter.

  2. It is their tradition to give thanks before they start eating.

  3. There's an office tradition of wearing casual clothes on Fridays.

  4. They no longer follow the traditions of their ancestors.

  5. We broke with tradition and had goose for Thanksgiving instead of turkey.

  6. By tradition, the celebration begins at midnight.

  7. They no longer follow tradition.

  8. According to tradition, the goddess lies sleeping beneath the mountain.

Recent Examples of tradition from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of tradition

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

TRADITION Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of tradition for English Language Learners

  • : a way of thinking, behaving, or doing something that has been used by the people in a particular group, family, society, etc., for a long time

  • : the stories, beliefs, etc., that have been part of the culture of a group of people for a long time

  • —used to say that someone has qualities which are like the qualities of another well-known person or group of people from the past

TRADITION Defined for Kids


noun tra·di·tion \ trə-ˈdi-shən \

Definition of tradition for Students

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

Law Dictionary


noun tra·di·tion

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 tradition
  • Louisiana Civil Code

Origin and Etymology of tradition

French, legal transfer

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