Hab"it (#) n. [OE. habit, abit fr. habit fr. L. habitus state, appearance, dress, fr. habere to have, be in a condition; prob. akin to E. have. See Have, and cf. Able, Binnacle, Debt, Due, Exhibit, Malady.]


The usual condition or state of a person or thing, either natural or acquired, regarded as something had, possessed, and firmly retained; as, a religious habit; his habit is morose; elms have a spreading habit; esp., physical temperament or constitution; as, a full habit of body.

2. Biol.

The general appearance and manner of life of a living organism.


Fixed or established custom; ordinary course of conduct; practice; usage; hence, prominently, the involuntary tendency or aptitude to perform certain actions which is acquired by their frequent repetition; as, habit is second nature; also, peculiar ways of acting; characteristic forms of behavior.

A man of very shy, retired habits. W. Irving.


Outward appearance; attire; dress; hence, a garment; esp., a closely fitting garment or dress worn by ladies; as, a riding habit.

Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy. Shak.

There are, among the states, several of Venus, in different habits. Addison.

Syn. -- Practice; mode; manner; way; custom; fashion. -- Habit, Custom. Habit is a disposition or tendency leading us to do easily, naturally, and with growing certainty, what we do often; custom is external, being habitual use or the frequent repetition of the same act. The two operate reciprocally on each other. The custom of giving produces a habit of liberality; habits of devotion promote the custom of going to church. Custom also supposes an act of the will, selecting given modes of procedure; habit is a law of our being, a kind of "second nature" which grows up within us.

How use doth breed a habit in a man ! Shak.

He who reigns . . . upheld by old repute,
Consent, or custom. Milton.


© Webster 1913.

Hab"it (?), v. t. [habiten to dwell, F. habiter, fr. L. habitare to have frequently, to dwell, intens. fr. habere to have. See Habit, n.]


To inhabit.


In thilke places as they [birds] habiten. Rom. of R.


To dress; to clothe; to array.

They habited themselves lite those rural deities. Dryden.


To accustom; to habituate. [Obs.] Chapman.


© Webster 1913.