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What is a suitable word for stopping doing something that had already became part of our habit, like drinking wine or to stop drinking beer?

I had a computer dictionary and the word that comes out is commandment when I translate it from Chinese to English but I think it is just too weird.

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marked as duplicate by Jon Hanna, Andrew Leach, Mehper C. Palavuzlar, FumbleFingers, Kristina Lopez Feb 23 '13 at 14:13

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Just quit. Quit smoking [20,200,000 results]; quit drinking [1,450,000 results]... –  Kris Feb 23 '13 at 10:47

8 Answers 8

The word you're looking for might be abstain. It's a verb, and the noun is abstinence.

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woah thank you so much dude ^^ –  Wayne Low Feb 24 '13 at 5:42

There are general terms in English for ceasing to do habitual things, but more often than not, native English speakers use colorful phrases to describe that process.

For example, when people stop drinking, they generally say something like this:

I went on the wagon last week.

Click on the link to see the history of the idiom.

When I quit smoking after twenty years of nicotine slavery, I told everyone that:

I quit smoking at age 32. I went cold turkey on July 15, 1975.

Another common phrase is to kick the habit, but it's usually used for addicitions to drugs other than alcohol, e.g.:

He's been trying to kick his cocaine habit for years.

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There's always the verb break.

Macmillan lists this idiom under its entry for break:

break a habit
to stop doing something that is a habit, especially something bad or harmful

It's simple and widely-used, and can be found in both lay and professional contexts.

Here are a couple examples: a book entitled Making Habits, Breaking Habits, and a News in Health column headlined "Breaking Bad Habits: Why It’s So Hard to Change".

I've also heard this proverb:

Good habits are as hard to make as bad habits are to break.

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Consider desist, “To cease to proceed or act; to stop; to forbear; – often with from” and cease, “To stop”. Note, stop means to quit doing something. Examples: “He desisted from drinking after a few wild years.” “She quit drinking when she passed out.”

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If abstaining specifically from drink is what you are doing, you might go on the wagon.

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Just quit.
informal stop or discontinue (an action or activity): quit moaning!
I want to quit smoking

Quit smoking [20,200,000 results]; quit drinking [1,450,000 results]...

Alternatives could be:
give up
stop the habitual doing or consuming of something: I’ve decided to give up drinking
break (or informal kick) the habit
stop engaging in a habitual practice.

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If the habit you are breaking is generally considered to be bad, then the word reform can be used to refer to giving it up.

He is a reformed smoker. He once used 2 packets a day.

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"reformed smoker" can also be taken as a person who has become better at smoking. Just a thought. –  Parth Kohli Feb 23 '13 at 11:28
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@Ethereal, while you're technically right, at least here in the US, "reformed smoker" is understood to mean that the person has quit smoking. –  Kristina Lopez Feb 23 '13 at 12:53

A lot of words come close. Various forms of these words might be used: Abstemious, probity, chastity, eliminate, cease, terminate. The suggestions of "abstain" and "desist" are also excellent. But none of these really conveys what you want it to convey, because you are trying to squeeze an entire elaborate concept into a single word. So go with one of the expressions that have already been suggested (e.g. "kick the habit").

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