The word tradition was first used in the 1384 John Wycliffe Bible, where it was spelled tradicioun and meant "the action of imparting something". Other forms around that time included tradicyon, tradycion, tradycyon, tradicion, tradicion, and more; the t in the center didn't get added until around the seventeenth century. Tradicioun comes from an Old French word meaning "handing over" and eventually traces to the Latin noun traditionem, which meant "give up" or "surrender", an action that clearly became more figurative as the word developed. That's based on the verb tradere ("to hand over"), which was composed of the prefix trans-, meaning "across", and the root dare, "to give". Finally, those respectively derive from the Proto-Indo-European roots tere ("to cross over") and do ("to give").
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic. This year, I graduated from Harvard University with a degree in Government and Linguistics. There, I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society and wrote a thesis on Serbo-Croatian language policy, magna cum laude. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy philosophy, trivia, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.