1 [hab-it]
an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary: the habit of looking both ways before crossing the street.
customary practice or use: Daily bathing is an American habit.
a particular practice, custom, or usage: the habit of shaking hands.
a dominant or regular disposition or tendency; prevailing character or quality: She has a habit of looking at the bright side of things.
addiction, especially to narcotics (often preceded by the ).
mental character or disposition: a habit of mind.
characteristic bodily or physical condition.
the characteristic form, aspect, mode of growth, etc., of an organism: a twining habit.
the characteristic crystalline form of a mineral.
garb of a particular rank, profession, religious order, etc.: a monk's habit.
the attire worn by a rider of a saddle horse.
verb (used with object)
to clothe; array.

1175–1225; Middle English < Latin habitus state, style, practice, equivalent to habi- (variant stem of habēre to have) + -tus verbal noun suffix; replacing Middle English abit < Old French

2. bent, wont. 3. See custom. 10. dress, costume. 12. dress, garb, attire; deck out.
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2 [hab-it]
verb (used with object)
Archaic. to dwell in.
verb (used without object)
Obsolete. to dwell.

1325–75; Middle English habiten < Latin habitāre to inhabit; see habitat

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
habit (ˈhæbɪt)
1.  a tendency or disposition to act in a particular way
2.  established custom, usual practice, etc
3.  psychol a learned behavioural response that has become associated with a particular situation, esp one frequently repeated
4.  mental disposition or attitude: a good working habit of mind
5.  a.  a practice or substance to which a person is addicted: drink has become a habit with him
 b.  the state of being dependent on something, esp a drug
6.  botany, zoology the method of growth, type of existence, behaviour, or general appearance of a plant or animal: a climbing habit; a burrowing habit
7.  the customary apparel of a particular occupation, rank, etc, now esp the costume of a nun or monk
8.  Also called: riding habit a woman's riding dress
9.  crystallog short for crystal habit
10.  to clothe
11.  inhabit an archaic word for habituate
[C13: from Latin habitus custom, from habēre to have]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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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.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

habit hab·it (hāb'ĭt)

  1. A recurrent, often unconscious, pattern of behavior that is acquired through frequent repetition.

  2. Physical constitution.

  3. An addiction, especially to a narcotic drug.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
habit   (hāb'ĭt)  Pronunciation Key 
  1. The characteristic shape of a crystal, such as the cubic habit that is characteristic of pyrite.

  2. The characteristic manner of growth of a plant. For example, grape plants and ivy display a vining habit.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


see kick a habit.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
There's a habit that's had scientists puzzled: the practice of geophagy-eating
We have a tendency to lob antibiotic drugs at the little varmints, and they
  have a nasty habit of evolving their way around them.
The habit of helping is another reason so many volunteers were already in Haiti.
He's supporting his habit, and he's rationalizing the fact that he's doing
  something he was raised to believe was wrong.
Idioms & Phrases
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