14世纪末, “代代相传的声明, 信仰或实践”, 尤其是“基于摩西律法的信仰或实践”, 来自古法语 tradicion “传递, 陈述, 交接” (13世纪末), 直接来自拉丁语 traditionem (名词 traditio) “交付, 交出, 传承, 放弃” (也有“教导, 指示” 和“从前流传下来的说法” ). 这是一个动作名词, 来自 tradere “交付, 交出” 的过去分词干, 来自 trans- “交出” (见 trans-) + dare “给予” (来自PIE词根 *do- “给予” ). 该词是 treason (q. v.) 的双关. 意为“一种长期形成的习俗”, 出自1590年代. 概念是指习俗, 方式, 信仰, 学说等. “代代相传”.
Tradition is not solely, or even primarily, the maintenance of certain dogmatic beliefs; these beliefs have come to take their living form in the course of the formation of a tradition. What I mean by tradition involves all those habitual actions, habits and customs, from the most significant religious rite to our conventional way of greeting a stranger, which represent the blood kinship of 'the same people living in the same place'. .. . We become conscious of these items, or conscious of their importance, usually only after they have begun to fall into desuetude, as we are aware of the leaves of a tree when the autumn wind begins to blow them off—when they have separately ceased to be vital. Energy may be wasted at that point in a frantic endeavour to collect the leaves as they fall and gum them onto the branches: but the sound tree will put forth new leaves, and the dry tree should be put to the axe. [T. S. Eliot, “After Strange Gods” ]