Meaning of TRADITION in English


trəˈdishən noun

( -s )

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

1. : an act of delivering or surrendering something to another: as

a. Roman, civil, & Scots law : transfer or acquisition of property by mere delivery with intent of both parties to transfer the title in cases permitted by law (as in a sale or donation)

b. : the ecclesiastical offense committed by a traditor

2. : the process of handing down information, opinions, beliefs, and customs by word of mouth or by example : transmission of knowledge and institutions through successive generations without written instruction

a very different process from the tradition … which transmits culture from one generation of a society to another — A.L.Kroeber

3. : an inherited or established way of thinking, feeling, or doing : a cultural feature (as an attitude, belief, custom, institution) preserved or evolved from the past

a rebellious break with the traditions of their forebears

: usage or custom rooted in the past (as of a family or nation)

older universities rich in tradition



(1) : a doctrine or practice or a body of doctrine and practice preserved by oral transmission

(2) : a belief or practice or the totality of beliefs and practices not derived directly from the Bible but arising and handed down within the Christian community originally by oral transmission

(3) often capitalized : a teaching of or the body of an unwritten code of Jewish law believed to have been given by God to Moses on Sinai and later reduced to writing in the Mishnah

(4) often capitalized , Islam : hadith

b. : a belief or story or a body of beliefs and stories relating to the past and commonly accepted as historical but not verifiable

a tradition has grown up that it was put there by mistake — American Guide Series: Virginia

portray beautiful old Japanese traditions, like the legend of the fisher … beloved by the Sea God's daughter — Lafcadio Hearn

biographical details purporting to be based on family tradition — W.J.Ghent


(1) : an inherited principle, standard, or practice or body of principles, standards, and practices serving as the established guide of an individual or group

held always to the religious and doctrinal traditions of his Puritan ancestry — T.D.Bacon

the American tradition of democracy

the company's tradition of safety

the isolationist tradition still dominated American thought — H.H.Sprout

: convention

an old German theatrical tradition which allows you to start a quarter of an hour later than advertised — Barry Carman

(2) : a literary or artistic rule or standard (as of theme, style, symbolism) or a body of such conventions normative for a period or group (as the followers of a great artist)

followed the Arabic tradition of using no representations of living objects in their art — Edith Diehl

the title poem … represents a complete break with nineteenth-century tradition — F.R.Leavis

(3) : a technique or set of habits used in making the artifacts characteristic of a period or culture

the flaked-flint tradition

also : the cultural continuity associated with such a tradition in a given region

the Acheulean tradition

d. : a practice or pattern of events of long standing : custom

summer camps … are located by tradition on lakes — E.W.Smith

the old tradition of the absence of the men from the village … is continued in modern times by soldiers and labor migrants — Mary Tew

e. : the manner characteristic of an individual group, or system : customary method or style — usually used with in

the music … composed mainly in the British music-hall tradition — Roger Manvell

the member companies … whoop it up for Douglas fir plywood in the best trade association tradition — Monsanto Magazine

4. : a line of historical continuity or development marked by distinctive characteristics

bred in the aristocratic tradition

psychiatry is an offshoot of the medical tradition — Edward Sapir

the latter work … does not belong to the same manuscript tradition — Dorothy Robathan

— often used with in

in folk tradition singers almost invariably set new poems to tunes already in common use — S.P.Bayard


a. : cultural continuity embodied in a massive complex of evolving social attitudes, beliefs, conventions, and institutions rooted in the experience of the past and exerting an orienting and normative influence on the present

a sense of tradition

b. : the residual elements of past artistic styles or periods

6. : the force exerted by the past upon the present : cultural inertia

bound by family tradition in his choice of career

resist political tradition

7. : something existing only in popular belief : inherited reputation or memory

without social position save a tradition of gentility — Havelock Ellis

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.