1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Habit
|←Habington, William|| 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 12
|See also habit on Wikipedia, and our 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica disclaimer.|
HABIT (through the French from Lat. habitus, from habere, to have, hold, or, in a reflective sense, to be in a certain condition; in many of the English senses the French use habitude, not habit), condition of body or mind, especially one that has become permanent or settled by custom or persistent repetition, hence custom, usage. In botany and zoology the term is used both in the above sense of instinctive action of animals and tendencies of plants, and also of the manner of growth or external appearance of a plant or animal. From the use of the word for external appearances comes its use for fashion in dress, and hence as a term for a lady's riding dress and for the particular form of garment adopted by the members of a religious order, like “cowl” applied as the mark of a monk or nun.