superstition

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superstition,

an irrational belief or practice resulting from ignorance or fear of the unknown. The validity of superstitions is based on belief in the power of magic and witchcraft and in such invisible forces as spirits and demons. A common superstition in the Middle Ages was that the devil could enter a person during that unguarded moment when that person was sneezing; this could be avoided if anyone present immediately appealed to the name of God. The tradition of saying "God bless you" when someone sneezes still remains today.
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superstition

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
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Raised in Chicago's poor Irish section, the Patch, he superstitiously dreads returning to his old neighborhood, afraid to "pick up its dust on his shoes" and find himself "fit for nowhere else once again."
Walter White (above left, with Hattie McDaniel and Arthur Spingarn) of the NAACP scheduled a series of meetings with film studios seeking "an end to Hollywood's traditional portrayal of Negroes as superstitiously fearful of spooks." The organization "hopes to persuade studios to represent Negroes according to their normal place in the world."
They are afraid to stand out, superstitiously prefer not to stir the pot, and they answer with pre-readied, upbeat mantras."
But as he goes on, Antigonus complicates this assertion: "Dreams are toys, / Yet for this once, yea superstitiously, / I will be squared by this" (3.3.38-40).
(Albinos are cruelly hunted and parts of their bodies hacked off to be used as "medicine" [muti or juju) by individuals who superstitiously believe that the body parts of Albinos can bring them good fortune--whether in politics or in love affairs.)
"I'm working really hard to make sure I don't do something stupid in my first 100 days,'' the lanky Republican joked Wednesday at the Telegram & Gazette offices, pausing a moment to knock superstitiously on the desk in front of him and smile.
Her parents, superstitiously believing that Mai was being manipulated by a ghost, asked a spirit exorcist to free her.
I have been drawn to these images for as long as I can remember, ever since superstitiously holding my breath in the backseat of the car whenever my family drove by a cemetery.
Two of the people closest to me in my life died of what is euphemistically referred to as the Big C, since people are almost superstitiously afraid these days of saying "cancer" straight out.
Alone and physically powerless as she is, they superstitiously fear her uncanny eyes, as she becomes aware of the strength in her glare.
To prove it, she superstitiously taps the wooden table in front of her, as she talks about her life and passions.