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early 13c., from Old French superstition or directly from Latin superstitionem (nominative superstitio), noun of action from superstare (see superstitious). Originally especially of religion; sense of "unreasonable notion" is from 1794.
belief, half-belief, or practice for which there appears to be no rational substance. Those who use the term imply that they have certain knowledge or superior evidence for their own scientific, philosophical, or religious convictions. An ambiguous word, it probably cannot be used except subjectively. With this qualification in mind, superstitions may be classified roughly as religious, cultural, and personal