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

Examples of habitual in a Sentence

He was fired for his habitual lateness. They went for their habitual evening walk.
Recent Examples on the Web That increase would have to be intentional, Brittain said, but could likely be achieved through habitual changes such as taking a walk during phone calls or parking further away from store entrances. Brian Mastroianni, Health, 9 Apr. 2024 Kids going through puberty online are likely to experience far more social comparison, self-consciousness, public shaming, and chronic anxiety than adolescents in previous generations, which could potentially set developing brains into a habitual state of defensiveness. Jonathan Haidt, The Atlantic, 13 Mar. 2024 The industry is a habitual early adopter of new technology, from VHS to DVD to dot com. Tatum Hunter, Washington Post, 25 Feb. 2024 Consequently, the more routine and habitual a behavior becomes, the stronger and more responsive its connection to the individual. Sam Adeyemi, Forbes, 28 Mar. 2024 As the nation’s leader whose every utterance is monitored around the world, Mr. Trump would also be in an extraordinary position to drive traffic — and ultimately revenue — by the habitual use of the site. Sharon Lafraniere, New York Times, 27 Mar. 2024 These health concerns may include leg cramps or habitual foot tapping.1 People may confuse RLS with nocturnal leg cramps, which cause painful muscle movements. Health Editorial Team, Health, 15 Mar. 2024 In the recent trial, the prosecution characterized Whitehead as a habitual liar, emphasizing his deceit regarding access, influence, and relationships. Melissa Noel, Essence, 15 Mar. 2024 Under the reforms the legislature shortened the amount of time that a nonviolent conviction could trigger the three-strikes law for habitual offenders. Tim Craig, Washington Post, 19 Feb. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'habitual.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 13 Apr. 2024.

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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