Word Origin & History
early 13c., from O.Fr. habit, from L. habitus "condition, demeanor, appearance, dress," originally pp. of habere "to have, to hold, possess," from PIE base *ghabh- "to seize, take, hold, have, give, receive" (cf. Skt. gabhasti- "hand, forearm;" O.Ir. gaibim "I take, hold, I have," gabal "act of taking;"
Lith. gabana "armful," gabenti "to remove;" Goth. gabei "riches;" O.E. giefan, O.N. gefa "to give"). Base sense probably "to hold," which can be either in offering or in taking. Applied in Latin to both inner and outer states of being, and taken over in both sense by English, though meaning of "dress" is now restricted to monks and nuns. Drug sense is from 1887. Habitual first attested 1520s.