What does the idiom "by force of habit" mean?

by force of habit is an idiom used by many writers. When idioms are used in the right place, they open the doors of effective communication and increase your descriptive power. In this way, you will be better understood. The meaning of the expression by force of habit is also remarkable in this respect.

Meaning of "by force of habit"


The phrase "by force of habit" refers to an action that has become so deeply ingrained in someone's behavior that it is done almost unconsciously. It is typically used to describe a behavior that is done automatically, often due to long-term repetition or conditioning, and is not necessarily desired or beneficial.


The term “by force of habit” dates back to the 16th century and is derived from the Latin phrase “habitus fortis”, which literally translates to “strong habit”. In its current usage, the phrase applies to anything that has become a natural and perhaps unintentional part of someone's routine.


The phrase "by force of habit" is typically used to describe a recurrent action that is done often without any conscious thought. It is typically used in a negative way to imply that the behavior is not necessarily beneficial or desired. For example, a smoker might say, "I still smoke, even though I know it's bad for me… it's just by force of habit at this point." The term can also be used in a positive context to describe a behavior that has been repeatedly practiced, often with great effort and dedication. For example, one might say, "She became an excellent pianist by force of habit, practicing for hours every day for years."

Example Sentences

  • I've been getting up early for work every day for so long that it's just by force of habit at this point.
  • I can never remember where I put my keys, but luckily I know that I always put them in the same place, by force of habit.
  • Her language skills improved greatly by force of habit, repeating the same phrases over and over until she had them memorized.

The meanings of the words in the "by force of habit" idiom

The universal role of idioms

"Kill two birds with one stone" is an English idiom that means to accomplish two things with a single action. In French, the similar idiom is "Faire d'une pierre deux coups," which translates to "To kill two birds with one stone." This idiom highlights the efficiency of completing two tasks with one action.


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