Habit, habitude, practice, usage, custom, use, wont are comparable when they mean a way of behaving, doing, or proceeding that has become fixed by constant repetition.
These words may be used also as collective or abstract nouns denoting habits, usages, or customs, considered as a directing or impelling force.
Habit refers more often to the way of an individual than to the way of a community or other group; the term applies to a way of behaving (as in acting or thinking) which has become so natural to one through repetition that it is done unconsciously or without premeditation.
Habitude more often suggests an habitual or usual state of mind or attitude than an habitual response to a given stimulus.
Practice (see practice n under PRACTICE ) applies to a habit which is by its nature an act or a method which is followed regularly and often by choice.
Usage (see also FORM 3 ) applies mainly to a practice that has been so long continued and has been adopted so generally that it serves to guide or determine the action or choice of others.
Specifically, in reference to the meanings of words, grammatical constructions, and idiomatic forms where there is a difference of opinion, usage implies the long-continued and established practice of the best writers and speakers as the determining factor.
Custom applies to a habit, practice, or usage that has come to be associated with an individual or a group by reason of its long continuance, its uniformity of character, and, sometimes, its compulsory nature.
Often custom denotes an established practice or usage or the body of established practices and usages of a community or of a people that has the force of unwritten law; thus, the English common law is based upon custom rather than upon legislation.
Consequently, custom when used as a collective or abstract noun commonly implies a force as strong, as binding, and as difficult to escape as that exerted by those who enforce the law of the land.
Use (see also USE 1 ) commonly denotes an action, manner, rite, or practice that is customary to an individual or a particular group and distinguishes him or it from others.
Wont usually applies to a habitual manner, method, or practice distinguishing an individual or group; it not only differs little from use except in its narrower range of application but is often coupled with use as a term of equivalent content.