One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A traitor; a person who betrays someone or something. Now rare.
2Church History. In the early Christian church: a person who surrendered sacred books and vessels or betrayed fellow Christians in times of persecution to save his or her own life.
3A person who transmits or sustains a tradition, especially (in later use) an oral tradition. rare before 20th cent.
Late Middle English; earliest use found in Knyghthode and Bataile. From classical Latin trāditor person who hands over, traitor, betrayer, in post-classical Latin also teacher (early 3rd cent. in Tertullian), person who hands over sacred books to their persecutors from trādit-, past participial stem of trādere + -or.
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