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Definition of TRADITION

1a: an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior (as a religious practice or a social custom)
1b: a belief or story or a body of beliefs or stories relating to the past that are commonly accepted as historical though not verifiable.

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>

tra·di·tion·al -ˈdish-nəl, -ˈdi-shə-nəl adjective

tra·di·tion·al·ly adverb

tra·di·tion·less -ˈdi-shən-ləs adjective

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Examples of TRADITION

  1. One of our town’s time-honoured 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.


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