ha·​bit·​u·​a·​tion | \-ˌbi-chə-ˈwā-shən, -chü-ˈā-\

Definition of habituation 

1 : the process of habituating : the state of being habituated

2a : tolerance to the effects of a drug acquired through continued use

b : psychological dependence on a drug after a period of use — compare addiction

3 : decrease in responsiveness upon repeated exposure to a stimulus

Examples of habituation in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

But how could habituation happen in unicellular organisms without neurons? Katia Moskvitch, WIRED, "Slime Molds Remember—But Do They Learn?," 14 July 2018 Instead, the novel is an ode to the clumsier physicality of companionship, where bonds of friendship and love strain against the entropic forces of distance, irritation and habituation. Alexandra Kleeman, New York Times, "Fluid Friendships: A Literary Ode to the Shifting Nature of Human Bonds," 8 June 2018 In 2014, Monica Gagliano, an evolutionary ecologist at the University of Western Australia in Perth, found that Mimosa plants can retain their habituation for at least a month. Eoin O'carroll, The Christian Science Monitor, "What slime molds can teach us about thinking," 12 Apr. 2018 When everyone connects and reads and works and plays on a smartphone. * * * Apple’s announcement revealed two new approaches to manage its fall into habituation. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "The Empire of Apple," 12 Sep. 2017 But that can also come with risk of habituation and abuse. Mandy Oaklander, Time, "New Hope for Depression," 27 July 2017 The researchers wanted to see if age, habituation, or training influenced the dog's tendency to follow a human's gaze. Enikő Kubinyi, National Geographic, "One More Reason Dogs Are More Like Us Than We Thought," 31 Aug. 2016 But through habituation, or paucity of talent, or lack of originality, most of us, writing, reach for the most workaday speech-tools, and in this way the world is made dull. George Saunders, The New Yorker, "Grace Paley, the Saint of Seeing," 3 Mar. 2017 And they’d better get their habituation done in college, because the world beyond college will be far less willing to accommodate requests for trigger warnings and opt-outs. Greg Lukianoff, The Atlantic, "The Coddling of the American Mind," 20 Nov. 2015

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

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First Known Use of habituation

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of habituation was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for habituation


ha·​bit·​u·​a·​tion | \-ˌbich-ə-ˈwā-shən \

Medical Definition of habituation 

1 : the act or process of making habitual or accustomed

2a : tolerance to the effects of a drug acquired through continued use

b : psychological dependence on a drug after a period of use — compare addiction

3 : a form of nonassociative learning characterized by a decrease in responsiveness upon repeated exposure to a stimulus — compare sensitization sense 3

More from Merriam-Webster on habituation

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with habituation

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about habituation

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