I am looking for an antonym of the phrase "to get used to" in the sense of doing beginning (or in this case finishing) to do something oneself.

The only one i can think of is "to get out of the habit of".

In Russian there is a word "отвыкать", that has that meaning, but i wonder if there is a phrase or a word that has that exact sense.

  • 1
    Russian has a lot more productive morphology than English, so it's easy enough to find or make up words with specific meanings. English has practicly no productive morphology, so -- realistically -- get out of the habit of V-ing is, in effect, the antonym of get used to V-ing. Aug 6, 2014 at 16:03
  • 2
    break a habit ?
    – ermanen
    Aug 6, 2014 at 17:02
  • 1
    When you get out of the habit of snorting cocaine, you go through withdrawals. So perhaps "withdraw", or "disengage"?
    – Dan Bron
    Aug 6, 2014 at 17:09
  • To break an habit, one may use disaccustom. For a neophyte/beginner/newcomer , you may use "take its first step".
    – Graffito
    Aug 13, 2015 at 22:25

8 Answers 8


"Wean" seems to be the closest word to what you're looking for:

wean somebody off/from something (phrasal verb): to make someone gradually stop doing something you disapprove of:

advice on how to wean yourself off nicotine

to detach from a source of dependence:

being weaned off the medication

wean the bears from human food

also : to free from a usually unwholesome habit or interest:

wean him off his excessive drinking

weaning them from habits of violence — Geoffrey Carnall

However, "getting out of the habit of ..." is a very clear and understandable phrase.


A few other alternatives from subscription-only LDOCE (See the last item which is quite an antonym, but still different in the meaning):

leave off (phrasal verb): to stop doing something:

'Will you leave off nagging?' he snarled.

break/kick a habit (=stop doing something that is bad for you):

I've smoked for years, but I really want to kick the habit.

unaccustomed (formal) unaccustomed to (doing) something: not used to something:

a country boy, unaccustomed to city ways

Register: In everyday English, people usually say that they are not used to something rather than unaccustomed to it.

  • Yes, this is the expression that came to my mind, though 'opposites' are almost meaningless for complex structures. Isn't 'not get used to' an opposite? Aug 6, 2014 at 18:58
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    Hmmm @EdwinAshworth, I think those two are slightly different. "Not get used to" somewhat indicates that you never got into the habit, where the O.P. is seeking for a word/phrase that explains giving up a habit after being in it for a while.
    – Neeku
    Aug 6, 2014 at 20:41
  • I'm not denying that; I'm saying that 'an antonym of the phrase "to get used to" ' is not a clearly defined concept. Aug 6, 2014 at 21:57
  • Ah, right. S/he mention "getting out of the habit of" though. (:
    – Neeku
    Aug 6, 2014 at 22:04
  • Yes, I'm just hinting that your good answer would be even better if it pointed out OP's loose usage of 'antonym'. Aug 6, 2014 at 22:07

try dishabituate:

To render unaccustomed to or unfamiliar with.


There is really no good single English expression to convey the meaning of the Russian отвыкатъ/отвыкнутъ, unfortunately. In part that is because a process is implied by the Russian--i.e., a habit or ability was acquired at some point, and then is was lost or lapsed. So, to "no longer be in the habit of" or "grow out of the habit of," "grow unused to," etc. though clunky, are the closest in meaning.

I suggest using "rusty." For instance, you could say, in Russian, " I used to speak French fluently, but now I'm rusty," where "rusty" would be "отвык/ла".

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    Hi Emma, welcome to EL&U. I like your suggestion, but I added a paragraph break so it's easier to see where your background information ends and your answer begins. Hope you enjoy your time here. Jun 13, 2016 at 2:30

Depending heavily on the context that you're using it in (unfortunately don't know Russian, so can't glean from the word you supplied!), but "getting rusty" could be a possibility for colloquial speech:

  1. I found using the Dvorak keyboard layout really hard at first but now I've gotten used to it.

  2. I used to be able to type well using the Dvorak layout but now I've gotten rusty.


"Get unused to it".

Although seemingly flippant, this should suffice and is perfectly understandable. It would typically be used by, for example, a superior in admonishing a soldier or worker to stop doing things in the manner to which he was accustomed.


Perhaps the trick is to find a synonym first, keeping in mind that "get used to" denotes a REFLEXIVE verb. I can get used to sashimi, but getting a friend comfortable with a raw fish dish is something else. In the first case I adjust or acclimatize to the exotic food, in the second case I can acclimatize the friend (the verb can be non-reflexive too) but the process is different--by some method or other you convert or condition the person. You can't REALLY convert or condition yourself...

The question as phrased seems to require reflexive only, so what is the opposite of acclimatizing to something? Recoiling from it? Tiring of it? Diverging from it? Moving beyond it? Growing averse to it?? The specific word would depend on the specific context, and the question is unfortunately general...

"I can adjust to sashimi, but I cringe at muktuk."

"I thought I was acclimatized to political attack ads, but I'm seething at the latest ones."

"Spent years vegging in front of the TV, but now I've weaned myself..."

Okay, maybe one CAN convert oneself, but there is some ambiguity here as to whether the psychology is active or passive...

Way-late PPS: Maybe I stumbled on it finally: be discomfited by http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/discomfit

  • Do not adjust your friends! =] Oct 19, 2014 at 1:47

Can you give a specific example of what you want? "Doing, beginning, or finishing to do something oneself" is very general; and I normally use the phrase "to get used to" to mean "to become accustomed to", so I'm having trouble seeing what you are asking about.

Example: our first year graduate students are treated to a very nice picnic dinner shortly after they arrive. I usually say to them, "Don't get used to it. This is the last nice thing the department will do for you for the next six years." I mean: don't get accustomed to it.

Accustomed: Customary, habitual, usual. Customary: According to custom; commonly used or practised; usual, habitual, accustomed, wonted (obsolete use). [OED]

Synonyms (antonyms): general, ordinary (extraordinary), common (uncommon), frequent (infrequent), everyday, commonplace, conventional (unconvention), regular (irregular), stock (one-off) [Roget's 1911 via ARTFL Project]


May I offer uncomfortable?

My friend has to get used to gutting fish to eat. As it stands now, he is very uncomfortable doing that.

  • May I inquire as to why the downvote? To get used to is to become comfortable with.
    – SrJoven
    Aug 7, 2014 at 12:45
  • Comfortable is helpful (hence my upvote) but not a verb. And a single-verb antonym is as difficult to find as a single-verb synonym... Oct 19, 2014 at 1:35
  • @Kibitzologist I agree. Part of the problem is the be verb conjugation that is not inherent in most verbs.
    – SrJoven
    Oct 19, 2014 at 2:23
  • 1
    Yep, that all-purpose "get" adds vast realms of vagueness. Is it lazy acceptance or painful adaptation we are talking about? Technically the opposite of both might be to get/be discomfited by... Oct 19, 2014 at 3:00

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