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 Introduction During traumatic periods and their aftermath, our brains can fall into habitual ways of thinking that may be helpful in the short run but become maladaptive years later. Quanta Magazine, 6 June 2024 During today’s Gemini new moon, retool habitual routines that no longer serve your growth. USA TODAY, 6 June 2024 But not everyone has given up Jones was court ordered to stay at the Logansport treatment facility for 90 days after serving time in prison on a charge of unlawful possession of a syringe as a habitual offender. Jake Allen, The Indianapolis Star, 18 Mar. 2024 The collapse of habitual social routines and the withdrawal of the state from people’s lives following the disintegration of the Soviet Union left Russians confused and disoriented. Maria Lipman, Foreign Affairs, 1 Nov. 2022 See all Example Sentences for habitual 

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 18 Jul. 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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