Hab"it (hăb"ĭt) n. [OE. habit, abit, F. 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.] 1. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

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

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 !

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

Hab"it (hăb"ĭt), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Habited; p. pr. & vb. n. Habiting.] [OE. habiten to dwell, F. habiter, fr. L. habitare to have frequently, to dwell, intens. fr. habere to have. See Habit, n.] 1. To inhabit. [Obs.]

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

2. To dress; to clothe; to array.

They habited themselves like those rural deities.

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