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force of habit (countable and uncountable, plural forces of habit)

  1. (idiomatic) an act that has been repeated to the point where the performance of the act becomes automatic
    "Only force of habit will explain why people today do honor to Christopher Columbus." - New York Times, 1937
    • 1900, L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
      The Tin Woodman lay down on his bed from force of habit, for he remembered when he was made of flesh; but not being able to sleep, he passed the night moving his joints up and down to make sure they kept in good working order.