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

Example Sentences

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 Then, as is tradition these days, everyone who attended the party, including Rheinstein, came down with COVID-19. Charles Curkin, ELLE Decor, 23 Mar. 2023 Per the show's tradition, Chandler and McGregor will be facing each other after the season ends. John Thompson, Men's Health, 22 Mar. 2023 One such tradition is the ogoh-ogoh parade, where giant demonic effigies are carried through the streets, then burned in purification ceremonies. Alan Taylor, The Atlantic, 22 Mar. 2023 On his latest album, Quejíos De Un Maleante, the Spanish singer blends tradition with elements of urbano music to give the folkloric style a modern-day twist. Lucas Villa, Rolling Stone, 22 Mar. 2023 The old tradition that the bride’s parents should cover the whole bill is no longer nuptial canon. Virginia Van Zanten, Vogue, 22 Mar. 2023 By tradition, it is chaired by a lawmaker from the main opposition party, in this case Harriet Harman. Mark Landler, New York Times, 21 Mar. 2023 An allergy changed my holiday tradition:But not my love of green bean casserole Reach the reporter at Endia Fontanez, The Arizona Republic, 21 Mar. 2023 Bucking tradition, Girl Scouts would not be getting their hands on any Raspberry Rally cookies to sell at booths or door-to-door. Cindy Carcamo, Los Angeles Times, 20 Mar. 2023 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.

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 26 Mar. 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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