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As far as I understand both phrases "by habit" and "out of habit" are valid. What is the difference, if any, between the two?

For example:

She was doing it by habit.

vs

She was doing it out of habit.

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    There is a slight difference, in some contexts. "By habit" suggests that her hands actually do "it" without her even needing to be aware of their motions, while "out of habit" suggests that she's doing "it" because her thought process "leans" that way.
    – Hot Licks
    Dec 17, 2020 at 22:31

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"By habit" means "by dint of habit", "through the force of habit", whereas "out of habit" means "because it is a habit".

  • On the other hand , young chickens have lost , wholly by habit , that fear of the dog and cat which no doubt was originally instinctive in them ; (ref.)

  • I no longer chose to use Google—I used it completely out of habit. (ref.)

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