Printable Version
Pronunciation: hê-bi-chu-wayt Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb, transitive, intransitive

Meaning: 1. [Transitive] To accustom, to make someone used to something. 2. [Transitive] To visit regularly, to frequent. 3. [Intransitive] In psychology, to have a conditioned response slowed or reduced by repetition of the stimulus, to become jaded.

Notes: This word has a normal process noun, habituation, and an adjective, habitual. Notice that the [tyu] sound of TU converts to [chu] automatically. In fast speech, [t+y] becomes [ch] and [d+y] becomes [j], as "Did you go?" becomes [dijê go]. "Did you eat yet" becomes "Jeechet?" if we also elect to drop the initial DI of did when speaking fast. This is a perfectly normal change in fast speech.

In Play: Today's Good Word is most often used as a past participle (be habituated), but using it with a reflexive pronoun works just as well: "Rose's husband now sleeps in another room because he could never habituate himself (or get habituated) to rolling over her hair-curlers in the night." The intransitive meaning of this word is "to become jaded", as "Wyatt Matters finally habituated to the bland music on the elevator he had to take to his office". Wyatt habituates that elevator too much.

Word History: This word comes from Late Latin habituatus, the past participle of habituari "to be in a condition", taken from Latin habitus "condition, habit". This noun comes from the past participle of habere "to have, to hold". The meaning apparently began as the way you hold yourself, moving from there to your condition—the way you dress, state of mind, behavior. This would explain the sense of clothing (her riding habit) and custom (her habit of riding). The new verb, habituari, then picked up the sense of "to be in a condition".

Dr. Goodword,

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