Definition of habit in US English:

habit

noun

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

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

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Walking out of the nunnery was Sister Elizabeth, dressed in full habit, using a wooden cane to get down the sidewalk easier.’
    • ‘He donned the traditional brown Franciscan habit and sandals and took the name of his patron, St. Francis Solanus.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Because I wore the habit of a religious order he saw me as a sort of expert, one who could get results.’
    • ‘Francis and the friars are costumed in simple gray habits (the chorus is dressed similarly).’
    • ‘He wore one of those long brown monk habits accented with beads and rope, and sported a Friar Tuck-like haircut - the bowl cut.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She has a lurid past of big yellow puffa skirts, fake orange tan and nun's habit dresses.’
    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 Dress; attire.
      • ‘He was dressed in his lordly habit, a black tunic over black trousers and a shimmering silver veil with matching wide sleeves.’
      • ‘The Sovereign was dressed in his traditional habit of silvery blue shirt and veil with a white long sleeveless tunic over top of white trousers.’
      • ‘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 bodily condition or constitution.

    ‘a victim to a consumptive habit’

verb

[with object]be habited
archaic
  • Dress; clothe.

    ‘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

Phrases

  • force of habit

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

      ‘he checks his appearance out of force of habit’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘All the play was gone from her actions and she just did them now from 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.’
      • ‘"I believe the biggest obstacles to an environmental tax shift are ignorance and force of habit," he says.’
      • ‘I found myself, through force of habit, walking home after school to the Ginney Block, forgetting that I no longer lived there.’
      • ‘I did keep looking at my watch, though—force of habit.’
      • ‘I keep hitting the button by 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.’
      • ‘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.’

Origin

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.

Pronunciation

habit

/ˈhæbət//ˈhabət/