custom / habit

The word habit is typically used for personal actions – things that you do frequently and repeatedly without even thinking about them:

  • I have the habit of falling asleep in front of the TV.
  • My brother has the bad habit of biting his nails.
  • Diana is trying to develop healthy eating habits.
  • I don’t trust him. He’s a habitual liar.

    (the adjective form is “habitual”)

    The word custom is used more for cultural or religious traditions.

  • People in this country have the custom of removing their shoes before entering the house.
  • According to religious custom, wearing white symbolizes purity.
  • It’s customary to give people gifts on their birthdays.

    (the adjective form is “customary”)

    The word custom also has another meaning – as an adjective, it is the short form of customized – meaning something is changed to make it more personal, individual, or unique:

  • I got a custom cell phone case with a picture of my dog on it.