Superstition is a pejorative term for any belief or practice that is considered irrational or supernatural: for example, if it arises from ignorance, a misunderstanding of science or causality, a positive belief in fate or magic, or fear of that which is unknown. It is commonly applied to beliefs and practices surrounding luck, prophecy, and certain spiritual beings, particularly the belief that future events can be foretold by specific (apparently) unrelated prior events. The word superstition is often used to refer to a religion not practiced by the majority of a given society regardless of whether the prevailing religion contains alleged superstitions.
Etymology of Superstition
The word “superstition” comes from the Latin super-stare, usually translated as “to stand over,” but there is some disagreement over how to properly interpret its intended meaning. Some argue that it originally connoted “standing over” something in amazement, but it has also been suggested that it meant “surviving” or “persisting,” as in the persistence of irrational beliefs. Still, others say it meant something like overzealousness or extremism in one’s religious beliefs or practices.
Several Roman authors, including Livy, Ovid, and Cicero, used the term in the latter sense, distinguishing it from
“Superstition is a belief, or system of beliefs, by which almost religious veneration is attached to things mostly secular; a parody of religious faith in which there is belief in an occult or magic connection.”