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1762, as a technical term in Latin texts on English flora and fauna, literally "it inhabits," third person singular present indicative of habitare "to live, dwell," frequentative of habere "to have, to hold, possess" (see habit (n.)). General sense of "dwelling place" is first attested 1854.
The area or natural environment in which an organism or population normally lives. A habitat is made up of physical factors such as soil, moisture, range of temperature, and availability of light as well as biotic factors such as the availability of food and the presence of predators. A habitat is not necessarily a geographic area—for a parasitic organism it is the body of its host or even a cell within the host's body.
The area or type of environment in which a particular kind of animal or plant usually lives.