What Does Break A Habit Mean?

Breaking a Habit Meaning

Definition: To stop a routine bad behavior or addiction.

Since a habit is something that is so ingrained in one’s psyche that it is done without thought, there needs to be a very strong force to change it. Thus, a verb as strong as break is required.

When someone breaks a habit, he or she finally, after much effort, stops doing something in which he or she has become accustomed to doing for a long time.

It is often said that you should form a new habit as a way to break your old one, as breaking habits for the sake of breaking habits is quite difficult.

Origin of To Break A Habit

define break a habit The idea of breaking habits is a very old one. From the early 17th century, there was the idea, expressed by Rev. Watson C. Blake, that,

  • Bad habits are like a comfortable bed; easy to get into, but hard to get out of.

The word break came into use in connection with this idea by the latter half of the century. In the Handbook of Proverbs, from 1670, we can see the joining of break with custom, which is a synonym for habit, for the first time,

  • A bad custom is like a good cake, better broken than kept.

Examples of To Break A Habit

breaking the habbit In the modern day, it is very common for people to try and better themselves and break bad habits.

For example, one might say,

  • I tried for months to break my habit of biting my nails, but I couldn’t do it.


  • I have the habit of eating chocolate after dinner, and I can’t break it!

Similarly, one might say,

  • I finally broke my habit of staying awake after 1 a.m. Now I go to bed before midnight!

More Examples

  • Ruth Field cited a University College London survey which found that it takes a minimum of 66 days to break a habit. –The Irish Times
  • It’s the end of the year and many people are thinking about New Year’s Resolutions and breaking bad habits. –The Conway Daily Sun


To break a habit is to make an effort to stop doing a routine behavior that is usually harmful in some way.