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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web In 2016, the academy broke with tradition and handed the prize to Bob Dylan, the first musician to win the award. NBC News, 7 Oct. 2021 Teams typically wear dark colors at home, so USA had to get special permission from the Sun Belt Conference and the opposing team to break with tradition. Creg Stephenson |, al, 29 Sep. 2021 There is nothing wrong with tradition and getting fans hype, but there is nothing worse than watching a bunch of uncoordinated coeds jump off-beat, all while their school lines the pockets of '90s rap group House of Pain. Scooby Axson, USA TODAY, 26 Sep. 2021 Our guiding light is the memory of a more honorable past: a young, modern state with a glorious ancient tradition; a country that, at its finer moments, witnessed a spirit of partnership across ethnic and sectarian lines. Wisam Al-hardan, WSJ, 24 Sep. 2021 Artists like The La Planta in Uruguay and Raymix in Mexico have also fused more modern sounds with the cumbia tradition. Billboard, 22 Sep. 2021 For the foodies, Armenia does not disappoint with a culinary tradition that utilizes a wide array of spices, herbs, and wildflowers, many of which are indigenous to the region. Lia Miller, Essence, 17 Sep. 2021 The design played with the quilting tradition of building on the existing. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, 16 Sep. 2021 In a long-standing break with tradition, NASCAR will not have the first event of its 2022 season in Daytona Beach, Fla., but instead in Southern California. John Cherwa, Los Angeles Times, 14 Sep. 2021

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.

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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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Last Updated

9 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tradition.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for tradition



English Language Learners Definition of tradition

: 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


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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