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superstition

[soo-per-stish-uh n] /ˌsu pərˈstɪʃ ən/
noun
1.
a belief or notion, not based on reason or knowledge, in or of the ominous significance of a particular thing, circumstance, occurrence, proceeding, or the like.
2.
a system or collection of such beliefs.
3.
a custom or act based on such a belief.
4.
irrational fear of what is unknown or mysterious, especially in connection with religion.
5.
any blindly accepted belief or notion.
Origin
late Middle English
1375-1425
1375-1425; late Middle English < Latin superstitiōn- (stem of superstitiō), equivalent to superstit- (stem of superstes) standing beyond, outliving (super- super- + -stit-, combining form of stat-, adj. derivative of stāre to stand) + -iōn- -ion
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for superstition

superstition

/ˌsuːpəˈstɪʃən/
noun
1.
irrational belief usually founded on ignorance or fear and characterized by obsessive reverence for omens, charms, etc
2.
a notion, act or ritual that derives from such belief
3.
any irrational belief, esp with regard to the unknown
Word Origin
C15: from Latin superstitiō dread of the supernatural, from superstāre to stand still by something (as in amazement)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for superstition
n.

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for superstition

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

Learn more about superstition with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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