break a/the habit

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break a/the habit

To stop doing a routine action or activity. I struggled to break the habit of biting my nails, but getting regular manicures helped.
See also: break, habit

break a habit

 and break the habit; break one's habit
to end a habit. I was not able to break the habit of snoring. It's hard to break a habit that you have had for a long time.
See also: break, habit
References in classic literature ?
I saw that one of us must knock under, the drink devil or Jerry Barker, and I said that it should not be Jerry Barker, God helping me; but it was a struggle, and I wanted all the help I could get, for till I tried to break the habit I did not know how strong it was; but then Polly took such pains that I should have good food, and when the craving came on I used to get a cup of coffee, or some peppermint, or read a bit in my book, and that was a help to me; sometimes I had to say over and over to myself,
If you must break the habit of a lifetime,' said Mr Mifflin, complainingly, 'I wish you would wait till we get ashore.
A NEW programme has been launched to break the habits of violent criminals.
Break the habits that hold your relationship firmly in place.
Professor Ben (C) Fletcher and Dr Karen Pine, from the University of Hertfordshire, believe that if you can break the habits that made you fat in the first place, you can lose pounds without obsessing about food.
If, come May, he's been unable to break the habits of a lifetime, Wolves haven't lost too much.
Professor Ben (C) Fletcher and Dr Karen Pine believe that if you can break the habits that made you fat in the first place, you can lose pounds without obsessing about food.
To help break the habits that govern your behaviour in day-to-day life, behave a little differently each day in seven key personality areas:
Breaking the mould means starting to break the habits of a lifetime - requiring professional, expert help for what may be a long and difficult journey.