I couldn't find it in multiple dictionaries, but have seen it used by several people. However, I do not know if this is just due to the word "sounding right", or from the word actually existing. Does anyone know if this a real word, and how one would go about finding out if it would be a real word?

  • 3
    The first step in finding out if it is a real word is defining "real word". That is not a term I am familiar with. What words do you consider imaginary?
    – RegDwigнt
    Nov 29, 2012 at 13:22
  • I'm pretty new to this SE, so I guess I mean a "real word" is one that people actually use (as in other people have heard of it, maybe used it, and it's not just some random coincidence that I've heard many people use it). I guess another definition would be that if I wrote it on an examination, such as the SAT essay or something similar, it would not be counted as a non-existent word or incorrect if used correctly. Nov 29, 2012 at 13:33
  • 3
    Well, what you probably mean is if it's a dictionary word, and it's easiest to find out by checking the dictionary.
    – SF.
    Nov 29, 2012 at 14:38
  • 1
    @RegDwighт Well, guiyguinhjig is not a real word. Oh, wait, now it is. Darn it. Nov 29, 2012 at 15:20
  • It's a real word all right. Just don't use it before checking out where it is to be used appropriately. Some examples: "Mysterious Sprites Could Be Used To Find Habitated Planets", "What percent of the earth is habitated?","was poor at college he spent most of his time habitating in his dorm room, with his food provided by his unlimited food plan, which made him habitate." (slang)
    – Kris
    Nov 29, 2012 at 15:20

3 Answers 3


Certain habitate has been used by others before you. When they used it, it usually means to dwell, and so is intransitive.

It also has a rare and, in my opinion and that of the OED, a now-obsolete transitive sense, where it is equivalent to habituate.

Per that Dictionary:

habitate /ˈhæbɪteɪt/, v. rare.

Etymology: f. L. habitāt-, ppl. stem of habitāre to dwell; but by Burton used as a derivative of habit sb.

a. intr. To dwell.

b. trans. To habituate; = habit v.4. Obs.

  • 1621 Burton Anat. Mel. ɪ. ii. ɪɪ. vi, ― They being now habitated to such meditations and solitary places, can indure no company.
  • 1866 J. B. Rose tr. Ovid’s Fasti ᴠ. 626 ― Mars habitates in the city of his son.
  • 1866 J. B. Rose tr. Ovid’s Fasti ᴠɪ. 936 ― She doth habitate On Tiber’s banks.

I should definitely avoid the second sense, which would be taken as a typo for habituate. The first sense sounds a mite pretentious for dwell, or even the fancier inhabit, but you might put it into the mouth of some speaker who never uses a single word when he can sneak in a paragraph, or a one-syllable word when there is a polysyllabic monstrosity he can use to scare away the easily intimidated.

  • Thanks for the answer. Would the OED be the Oxford English Dictionary? Nov 29, 2012 at 13:44
  • 1
    @ReliableSource Aye, and of the 2nd edition, to be exact.
    – tchrist
    Nov 29, 2012 at 13:59
  • On a related note: There is an entry in the OED for cohabitate, which is synonymous with cohabit (live together). It is marked as rare and obsolete. Nov 29, 2012 at 15:01
  • @MattЭллен The ODAUS says cohabitate is a 'misbegotten back-formation' -- Nevertheless Google returns 282k results. (books.google.co.in/…)
    – Kris
    Nov 29, 2012 at 15:13
  • @Kris What exactly is the ODAUS? Also, the word I'm looking for isn't really cohabitate, because I was looking for a word to describe one particular noun, not coexisting with another. Nov 29, 2012 at 23:36

Of course habitated is a word... although my browser's built-in spell-checker disagrees. Dictionaries are descriptive, not prescriptive. If you want it to be a word, then use it. I, for one, being a non-native English speaker have a clear meaning of what it is trying to convey. It won't survive a good Strunk & White'ing though.

  • 2
    Can't agree with "If you want it to be a word then use it". If I want "omgwtfable" to be a word, that doesn't mean I should use it here and there. Nov 29, 2012 at 13:56
  • @SingerOfTheFall Well, you can use it, but YANETUT.
    – tchrist
    Nov 29, 2012 at 13:57
  • @SingerOfTheFall I disagree. I can see no reason why you shouldn't. How did all other words come to be ? omgwtfable is perfectly cromulent word.
    – sthysel
    Nov 29, 2012 at 14:01
  • @tchrist, well, I believe that if I use a word I would also want other people to understand it, unless, of course, I'm using it to speak to myself. Nov 29, 2012 at 14:06
  • "If you want it to be a word, then use it" ... but make sure it means what you think it means. Nov 29, 2012 at 15:45

Yes, I do know so! Because I use it all the time like in this sentence: "I habitated the house".


Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.