Definition of superstition in US English:

superstition

noun

  • 1Excessively credulous belief in and reverence for supernatural beings.

    ‘he dismissed the ghost stories as mere superstition’
    • ‘On the one hand it was a repository for formalized superstition; on the other it stood ready for interpretational abuse in criminology, eugenics, ethnography, and the construction of racial stereotypes.’
    • ‘The cloak of organizational rationality is lifted to reveal sorcery, superstition, and the suspicion of witchcraft.’
    • ‘The document further calls on government departments to make a finer distinction between religion and superstition so that people can worship religion without interference.’
    • ‘There's also a lot of folly, superstition and craziness, but I like to concentrate on the energy and resilience aspect of it.’
    • ‘You'd say what seems to be on the rise is not art or science, but religion and the medievalism of superstition and the tyranny of who owns whose soul and the soul of what nation.’
    • ‘He deployed the erudition that made his work a source-book of historical and religious criticism in a humane and enquiring spirit, impatient of credulity, superstition, and intolerance.’
    • ‘By opting for a courtroom setting, it not only dramatises the conflict between rationalism and religion, psychiatry and superstition, but also pretends to give both sides an equal hearing.’
    • ‘During the centuries of superstition and feudalism following Athens's downfall, free speech was barely considered as an idea.’
    • ‘It's a Hoodoo tale, which means it features the peculiar magical practices that combine voodoo with Louisiana black arts culled from Tahiti, Native American, and slave superstition.’
    • ‘He also claimed that Philosophy alone douses the flames of superstition.’
    • ‘Reason has not, and will not, ever completely displace man's belief in the unknown, be it in religion or superstition.’
    • ‘Towards the end of the film, when an altercation with the earnest young locksmith erupts abruptly into violence, he retreats into religious superstition as a means of rationalising a seemingly inexplicable plot development.’
    • ‘It was the era of the big set-piece battles between science and religion, between superstition and modernity, between medicine and fate, between madness and psychotherapy.’
    • ‘We have become conditioned to expect certain things in a genre film, and anyone who comes at this one expecting big scares could easily miss its philosophical questioning of superstition and religion, and find himself or herself bored.’
    • ‘The film gives us unusually authentic-seeming pictures of village life and ritual, and invests the people with a certain dignity and sensibility, even if ultimately they prefer superstition and fear to science.’
    • ‘While liberation from superstition and autocratic oppression is the great legacy of the Enlightenment, to perpetuate the repression of all spiritual expression in the name of reason is to continue to deny our innate being.’
    • ‘Life on the set is pervaded by what the uninvolved might well view as superstition.’
    • ‘While primal drums beat, village women dance around a flaming bonfire bearing icons, turning to superstition to lift the ‘dark curse’ that sent torrential floods.’
    • ‘It is a windy day, and the church is barely three-quarters full, indicating, the narrator tells us, the general loss of religious fervor in the city, where superstition has replaced religion.’
    • ‘In an atmosphere of control and superstition, the boy is something of a rebel and misfit - going where he shouldn't go, always testing the boundaries of what he's allowed to say or do.’
    unfounded belief, credulity
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A widely held but unjustified belief in supernatural causation leading to certain consequences of an action or event, or a practice based on such a belief.
      ‘she touched her locket for luck, a superstition she had had since childhood’
      • ‘Laughing at the housekeeper's superstitions, the priest tells the barber to hand him a book at a time; because, they might find some that do not deserve burning.’
      • ‘He shows how superstitions about vampires - which are found in cultures as remote from Transylvania as China - originate not in the epic misdeeds of Vlad the Impaler, but in the behaviour of the human corpse after death.’
      • ‘Priests of the Roman Church have in past centuries found themselves, sometimes under episcopal direction, in earnest battle against perceived local superstitions and impious social customs connected with holy wells.’
      • ‘Its observations of Italian immigrant life have the ring of authenticity as mother dilutes the wine for the children at dinner, friends indelicately attack a plate of spaghetti, or various superstitions are ritualized.’
      • ‘As a tournament like this progresses you develop more and more superstitions.’
      • ‘Often the builders of hotels or airplanes leave out row 13 or floor 13 in an attempt to pander to popular superstitions.’
      • ‘At one point, he sits straight up because he thinks he hears two screech owls, which is a superstition that says bad luck is coming.’
      • ‘I also liked the ‘behind the scenes’ aspect of the presentation, which showed in some detail the various training regimens and assorted superstitions to which players seem to adhere.’
      • ‘While aesthetically pleasing, the tongue-in-cheek site also tries to answer every previously unasked question regarding phlegm-lore and spit superstitions.’
      • ‘The problem comes when superstitions belong to people in power - when superstitions become the operating system for major companies and other important institutions.’
      • ‘The reliance on luck, with all the hunches and superstitions it involves, is portrayed here as a kind of world view, an attitude towards life that turns out to be founded on despair.’
      • ‘Other ridiculous superstitions can contribute to the demise of a tennis player - comets, ball boys, hotel rooms, when to sit on the can and which sexual partners are acceptable.’
      • ‘It deals with her superstitions and beliefs in the supernatural - she has a friend who predicted his own murder, and after he was killed the names of the two killers came to her out of nowhere.’
      • ‘I uncovered lots more money superstitions, including embedding silver coins in Christmas puddings, the tooth fairy, and the fact that actors are superstitious about using real money on stage.’
      • ‘Optimism seems to rule: Four of the five most widely held superstitions are the ones that bring on the good.’
      • ‘The Symphony No 9, or the Choral, had such an enormous impact that a superstition sprung up among subsequent composers that it tempted fate to venture beyond nine symphonies, the number at which Beethoven laid down his pen.’
      • ‘He's coming from the western part of medieval Europe, from the larger cities and armies, and at first he can't help but make fun out of the small villages and local superstitions.’
      • ‘Of course, many folk customs and superstitions surrounded these events, as women relied on a female community of relatives, midwives, and nurses to see them through this time of physical and spiritual danger.’
      myth, belief, old wives' tale, notion
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Origin

Middle English: from Old French, or from Latin superstitio(n-), from super- ‘over’ + stare ‘to stand’ (perhaps from the notion of ‘standing over’ something in awe).

Pronunciation

superstition

/ˌsupərˈstɪʃ(ə)n//ˌso͞opərˈstiSH(ə)n/