Definition of habit in English:



  • 1A settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.

    ‘he has an annoying habit of interrupting me’
    ‘good eating habits’
    [mass noun] ‘we stayed together out of habit’
    • ‘Our cat has developed an annoying habit of standing on people's faces during the night.’
    • ‘If there is a bad habit I should get rid of I guess it would be to stop criticizing people.’
    • ‘Jen's got a bad habit of working too hard on something though.’
    • ‘All groups maintained their regular eating habits over the 12 weeks.’
    • ‘I have a bad habit of staying in bed till the last minute and then scurrying about in the morning, rushing to get to whatever my first appointment of the day is.’
    • ‘New research on the listening habits of music fans has revealed that many now plug in their ear-phones out of habit rather than for enjoyment.’
    • ‘I have a bad habit of not closing the blinds properly or forgetting that the curtains are open.’
    • ‘I had a bad habit of aggravating people; perhaps it was because they couldn't classify me.’
    • ‘I have a bad habit of going on trips and never recording my impressions of the places I've been too.’
    • ‘It twists your stomach into knots and forces you to abandon any regular eating habits.’
    • ‘I have a bad habit of saying yes, if you can call that a bad habit.’
    • ‘People have a bad habit of comparing space travel with air travel.’
    • ‘I know it's a bad habit, eating sweets in he morning, but strawberry shortcake is my favorite food.’
    • ‘I watched a ton of television as a kid, so I have a bad habit of getting sucked into shows for hours.’
    • ‘I have a bad habit of voicing my own true opinions.’
    • ‘It is true the consequences of such a bad habit are severe.’
    • ‘With dinner party after dinner party, it's difficult to not stray from your regular eating habits.’
    • ‘The increase in childhood obesity is also largely due to eating and exercise habits rather than a tendency toward low fat diets.’
    • ‘Yes, if you hadn't noticed yet, Pat had a bad habit of swearing regularly.’
    • ‘Riddled with guilt, I told her it was a bad habit and that I was going to stop.’
    accustomed to, used to, given to, habituated to, addicted to, no stranger to, not new to
    wont to, inclined to
    mannerism, quirk, characteristic gesture, characteristic, foible, trick
    practice, custom, pattern, routine, style, convention, policy, wont, way, manner, mode, norm, tradition, matter of course, rule, usage
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1informal An addictive practice, especially one of taking drugs.
      ‘a cocaine habit’
      • ‘Roof after roof has been entirely stripped of tiles - residents claim addicts have sold them to pay for their drug habit.’
      • ‘Then there is the argument from the ill-informed that young people turn to crime to feed their drug habit.’
      • ‘Most were young men, aged between 18 and 25, who were heroin and crack cocaine addicts funding habits through begging and crime.’
      • ‘They can't control their addictions and habits.’
      • ‘I am at risk of robbery and muggings by people desperate to maintain their drug habit.’
      • ‘Do drug users commit property crimes to support their drug habits?’
      • ‘They heard from victims of crime undertaken to fund drug habits, families of drug addicts, former addicts, police and many of the organisation which exist to help addicts.’
      • ‘For example, as a result of their lower overall economic status, many addicted women turn to prostitution as a means of supporting their drug habit.’
      • ‘Officers say most burglars are heroin or crack addicts who need cash to feed their drug habits.’
      • ‘It was a shock for Sherrie to find herself out on her own and with a drug habit.’
      • ‘It got to the stage were I was really desperate - shoplifting everyday, robbing all the time, selling drugs to fund my habit.’
      • ‘A heroin and cocaine addict who preyed on elderly women to feed his drugs habit has been jailed for three years.’
      • ‘Now, years later, he had rediscovered his past habit after the drug related death of his addict father.’
      • ‘A cocaine vaccine developed by a UK pharmaceutical company could help cocaine addicts kick their habit.’
      • ‘However, the overall use of the drug will endure for some time as a generation of drug users continues its habit.’
      • ‘He was a former heroin addict who had stolen the televisions to fund his drug habit and to feed and clothe his family.’
      • ‘Burglary has traditionally been a quick and easy way for drug addicts to fund their habits.’
      • ‘Even when the staff was accustomed to a very direct and friendly relationship with most clients, the work did not interfere in their drug habits or related lifeways.’
      • ‘Or, as one parent put it, an addict is never cured of the drug habit, they are only in remission.’
      • ‘In undertaking crime to support their drug habits, cocaine and heroin abusers become likelier than usual to be arrested.’
      addiction, dependence, dependency, craving, fixation, compulsion, obsession, weakness
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    2. 1.2Psychology An automatic reaction to a specific situation.
      • ‘In addition, psychotherapy can help patients learn new coping styles and interpersonal habits.’
      • ‘As I reviewed the circumstances leading up to this event, I noticed how some of my habits made this situation worse than it needed to be.’
      • ‘They take the place of habits until the new behaviors lose some of their unpleasantness and become more attractive in their own right.’
      • ‘Human health is heavily dependent on lifestyle habits and environmental conditions.’
      • ‘A great deal of modern social and clinical psychology took shape through the study of food habits.’
      • ‘As Claire was fond of telling me, I had a habit of reducing every situation to the worst-case scenario.’
      • ‘To describe habits as automatic diminishes the force of the voluntary condition of the concept less than to state that they are mechanical.’
      • ‘Second, will online technologies change poor lifestyle habits when other media efforts have failed?’
      • ‘You remind yourself that these thoughts are being generated out of a mental habit.’
      • ‘Temptation is the intensity of urges to engage in a specific habit in the midst of a difficult situation.’
      • ‘He believed the goal of education is to make useful habits automatic.’
      • ‘It also depends on the dog's behavioral habits and the owner's lifestyle.’
      • ‘The reason for this blinkered view is nothing other than the mere habit of thought.’
      • ‘It is a web of communication, a common language, and the acceptance of lack of language too, a knowledge of likes and dislikes, of habits and reactions, both physical and mental.’
      • ‘Certain situations, moods, habits, and memories can all be craving triggers, says psychotherapist Last.’
      • ‘Recognizing abnormalities by viewing videotapes and improving speech habits with the help of a therapist are two effective methods of treatment.’
      • ‘Situational themes are specific habits and kinds of behavior that manifest character strengths in given situations.’
      • ‘Sleep organizes the memories of habits, actions, and skills learned during the day.’
      • ‘‘This keeps us from being pulled into destructive or automatic habits and responses,’ says Segal.’
      • ‘Is it cognitive behavioral therapy, which reconfigures thinking patterns and habits?’
    3. 1.3[mass noun]General shape or mode of growth, especially of a plant or a mineral.
      ‘a shrub of spreading habit’
      • ‘This results in a natural trailing growth habit that lets them cascade beautifully over the edges of their containers.’
      • ‘The basis of our experiments was that growth habit of defoliated plants would affect how they compensated for lost leaf area.’
      • ‘Differences in morphology, growth habit, adult plant height, spike size, and development of spikes at nodes were observed.’
      • ‘The bushes have an aggressive growth habit and can easily reach a height of 6 feet.’
      • ‘Distance between camellia plants really depends on and will vary with growth habit of the species and cultivars you are planting.’
      • ‘As a general rule, the more upright the growth habit of the plant, the more likely it is you will need to build something.’
      • ‘It has excellent fall color, and the plant habit is spreading and mounded.’
      • ‘Plants that have a compact growth habit or those that adapt well to having their roots confined can be grown in containers almost indefinitely.’
      • ‘Further investigations of the effects of these changes in nutrient concentrations and growth habit is required to assess the implications on plant performance.’
      • ‘Most have a rounded, spreading growth habit; some cultivars have weeping forms.’
      • ‘The plant grows upright with a slight spreading habit.’
      • ‘A sprawling growth habit is common throughout all varieties.’
      • ‘There are hundreds of varieties of very fragrant roses, and they come in every color, every growth habit and every classification.’
      • ‘Vegetables are judged on how quick they are to produce as well as on yield, taste, quality, plant habit and pest and disease resistance.’
      • ‘It has beautiful purple flowers and appears to have a shrub-type growth habit.’
      • ‘Because of their lanky growth habit, Japanese plums do best kept to an open or pyramidal frame.’
      • ‘Here are 10 herbs notable for their consistent, compact growth habit and strong flavor.’
      • ‘The ideal form for a particular tree depends not only on your preferences, but also on the plant's natural growth habit.’
      • ‘Proper pruning results from becoming familiar with the growth habit of a particular type.’
      • ‘Although described as of trailing or twining habit, my plants have grown upright, with neat stiff stems that need no support.’
  • 2A long, loose garment worn by a member of a religious order.

    ‘nuns in long brown habits, black veils, and sandals’
    • ‘The order dropped its habits after the Vatican II council and required that Ochoa wear a white outfit only during prayers at one of the members' homes.’
    • ‘She has a lurid past of big yellow puffa skirts, fake orange tan and nun's habit dresses.’
    • ‘Standing on a parapet of fictive marble, dressed in the brown habit of his order, St Francis gazes intently at a wooden crucifix held between his crossed hands.’
    • ‘A label was developed for the easy, medium dry style of young white wine sold in inns throughout Germany which initially showed several nuns in brown habits against a bright blue sky.’
    • ‘Francis and the friars are costumed in simple gray habits (the chorus is dressed similarly).’
    • ‘Because I wore the habit of a religious order he saw me as a sort of expert, one who could get results.’
    • ‘Walking out of the nunnery was Sister Elizabeth, dressed in full habit, using a wooden cane to get down the sidewalk easier.’
    • ‘In his last decade in Rome he lived in a home run by the Blue Nuns, an Irish order so called because of the color of their habit.’
    • ‘He donned the traditional brown Franciscan habit and sandals and took the name of his patron, St. Francis Solanus.’
    • ‘On entry they were formally vested in a monastic habit, and wore a distinctive cap so that they were at once identifiable in the street.’
    • ‘He wore one of those long brown monk habits accented with beads and rope, and sported a Friar Tuck-like haircut - the bowl cut.’
    1. 2.1
      short for riding habit
      • ‘Because of the necessary fabrics to make habits hang correctly, I usually charge between $400-975 to create one.’
      • ‘They had already done their tests but were still in their dressage habit.’
      • ‘The old lady's habit, formed of stiff brocade, gives her the appearance of a squat pyramid, with a grotesque head at the top of it.’
    2. 2.2archaic [mass noun]Clothes.
      ‘in the vile habit of a village slave’
      • ‘They were clothed in the Dominican habit at a special Mass in the church which was attended by their family and friends.’
      • ‘The series in fact comprises only two: one in the form of a monk's habit and cowl, and one depicting a pin-striped business suit and tie.’
      garment, outfit, robe, costume, uniform, attire, dress, garb, clothes, clothing, garments
      View synonyms
  • 3archaic A person's health or constitution.

    ‘a victim to a consumptive habit’


  • Be dressed or clothed.

    ‘a boy habited as a serving lad’
    • ‘She and her daughter, habited in their night clothes, had apparently been occupied in arranging some papers in the iron chest already mentioned, which had been wheeled into the middle of the room.’
    dressed, clothed, dressed up, fitted out, garbed, arrayed, decked out, turned out, tricked up, costumed
    View synonyms


  • break (or informalkick) the habit

    • Stop engaging in a habitual practice.

      ‘trying to break the habit increases the compulsion’
      • ‘When a deacon ventured to speak to him about it, he just said he had gotten into the habit of starting late and it was hard to kick the habit.’
      • ‘There are things people can do to combat the stress associated with kicking the habit.’
      • ‘The research came after the Government declared a ban on smoking in the majority of public places within four years and increased efforts to encourage smokers to kick the habit.’
      • ‘But he has an addictive personality - he smokes 60 cigarettes a day, and the day after the interview has an appointment to start his 26th attempt at kicking the habit.’
      • ‘Various reasons were cited for kicking the habit.’
      • ‘Indeed, the observation that detoxification is not tantamount to overcoming an addiction, that addicts typically will try repeatedly before successfully kicking the habit, is a commonplace of drug treatment.’
      • ‘Drug orders are imposed on heroin users who steal to fund their habit and give them intensive support in efforts to kick the habit.’
      • ‘Although he had been told to stop smoking, breaking the habit was too much for him.’
      • ‘But while the smokers' chances of quitting increased, the vast majority did not experience the weight gain often associated with kicking the habit.’
      • ‘They should realise the dangers involved in smoking and should show determination in kicking the habit.’
  • force of habit

    • The tendency for something done very frequently to become automatic.

      ‘he checks his appearance out of force of habit’
      • ‘Youngsters will take up new technology, but old dogs like me will continue to take their daily paper out of sheer force of habit.’
      • ‘"I believe the biggest obstacles to an environmental tax shift are ignorance and force of habit," he says.’
      • ‘I keep hitting the button by force of habit.’
      • ‘She will still be living in the area and says that she will still pop into the office from time to time for a coffee, and will, from force of habit, probably keep an eye on what's going on.’
      • ‘She's worked so many hours she can't see the road in front of her but keeps it all going out of force of habit and knowledge of her section of road.’
      • ‘I found myself, through force of habit, walking home after school to the Ginney Block, forgetting that I no longer lived there.’
      • ‘All the play was gone from her actions and she just did them now from force of habit.’
      • ‘I did keep looking at my watch, though—force of habit.’
      • ‘By force of habit I walked up the parade route, counter to the direction of the participants, until I reached the point where the bands convened to begin their march.’


Middle English: from Old French abit, habit, from Latin habitus condition, appearance, from habere have, consist of. The term originally meant ‘dress, attire’, later coming to denote physical or mental constitution.