ha·​bit·​u·​al hə-ˈbi-ch(ə-)wəl How to pronounce habitual (audio)
: regularly or repeatedly doing or practicing something or acting in some manner : having the nature of a habit : customary
habitual candor
habitual behavior
habitual drug use
: regularly or repeatedly doing, practicing, or acting in some manner : doing something by force of habit
habitual drunkards
a habitual liar
: resorted to on a regular basis
our habitual diet
: inherent in an individual
habitual grace
habitually adverb
habitualness noun
Choose the Right Synonym for habitual

usual, customary, habitual, wonted, accustomed mean familiar through frequent or regular repetition.

usual stresses the absence of strangeness or unexpectedness.

my usual order for lunch

customary applies to what accords with the practices, conventions, or usages of an individual or community.

the customary waiting period before the application is approved

habitual suggests a practice settled or established by much repetition.

a habitual morning routine

wonted stresses habituation but usually applies to what is favored, sought, or purposefully cultivated.

his wonted determination

accustomed is less emphatic than wonted or habitual in suggesting fixed habit or invariable custom.

accepted the compliment with her accustomed modesty

Example Sentences

He was fired for his habitual lateness. They went for their habitual evening walk.
Recent Examples on the Web Their habitual appearances in both the news media, in often sensational and lurid stories, and the Israeli courts have also added to the reality show-like atmosphere around the family. Isabel Kershner, New York Times, 10 Jan. 2023 Additionally, residents can apply to Portugal’s non-habitual resident program that offers special tax treatment for ten years based on eligibility. Chrishan Wright, Condé Nast Traveler, 6 Jan. 2023 This growing habitual loneliness is a public-health crisis. Arthur C. Brooks, The Atlantic, 5 Jan. 2023 Moore pleaded guilty to neglecting a child, causing death, and one count of possession of a gun by a habitual criminal repeater. Elliot Hughes, Journal Sentinel, 4 Jan. 2023 In fact, studies have shown that a substantial number of our behaviors in a day are habitual. Saira Mueller, WIRED, 1 Jan. 2023 Alternative meat companies only have to convert a fraction of habitual chicken eaters—or convince them to swap in some vegan meat periodically—to realize significant earnings. Lila Maclellan, Quartz, 11 July 2021 Our habitual use of technology and its tendency to train our expectations ever upward are key drivers of this new socioeconomic reality, and much has been said about how Covid-19 accelerated consumers’ immersion in digital experiences of everything. Azlan Raj, Forbes, 4 Aug. 2022 Studies have repeatedly shown that most predatory crime is committed by a small, hard-core group of habitual offenders. William P. Barr, WSJ, 26 Oct. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'habitual.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


see habit entry 1

First Known Use

1603, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of habitual was in 1603

Dictionary Entries Near habitual

Cite this Entry

“Habitual.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/habitual. Accessed 27 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition


ha·​bit·​u·​al hə-ˈbich-(ə-)wəl How to pronounce habitual (audio)
: being or done by habit
habitual tardiness
: doing or acting out of habit
habitual talkers
: done, followed, or used often or regularly
took our habitual path
habitualness noun

Medical Definition


: having the nature of a habit : being in accordance with habit
habitual smoking
: doing, practicing, or acting in some manner by force of habit
habitual liars
habitually adverb

Legal Definition


ha·​bit·​u·​al hə-ˈbi-chə-wəl How to pronounce habitual (audio)
: practicing or acting in some manner by force of custom, habit, or addiction
a habitual drunkard
: being such a specified number of times or with designated regularity
habitual offenders
: involved in the practice of a person's usual behavior
her habitual residence

More from Merriam-Webster on habitual

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