Without getting too political, I’ll just say that this word has been in the news quite a bit today. After seeing it a few times, I began to wonder if there perhaps were an interesting story behind it.
And of course there is!
It can be traced back to the Old French traison, which in turn was derived from the Latin traditionem.
Wait a second. Traditionem!? Like tradition?
Believe it or not, yes! Neither word seem to have much in common, but traditionem was a form of the verb tradere (to deliver, hand over), made up of trans- (over), and dare (to give). You can see how tradition comes from this root: we hand traditions over from generation to generation.
Treason’s link is a little less obvious, but I suppose it comes from the idea of giving up secrets or comrades to the enemy.
If that’s not enough fascinating new information for you, how about a new word?
Treason and tradition are doublets: words that look or sound similar and share the same origin, but have different meanings. Like clock and cloak.
Now that’s interesting!