Vice Vs addicted to

Xavier da Silva

Senior Member
Hello everyone,

After searching everywhere (dicionaries and Google) for an answer, I'm still not sure. My question: Is there a difference between "vice" and "addicted to" (meaning: having a bad habit - a sort of dependency - addiction to something) in the examples I made below?

a. I don't have any vices. Vs I'm not addicted to anything.
b. Eating chocolate is my only vice. Vs Eating chocolate is the only thing I'm addicted to.

Thank you in advance!
 
  • pob14

    Senior Member
    American English
    The compulsion to visit a prostitute, if there is any at all, is less emphatic and strong than the urge to (for example) have a cigarette if you are addicted to nicotine.
     

    RedwoodGrove

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    The AHD defines "vice" as "An evil, degrading, or immoral practice or habit; a serious moral failing." And then you have the vice squad in a police department. I wouldn't automatically assume that an addiction is more serious than a vice. Americans certainly tend to use the word in an offhand way, but it would take a sociologist to explain why. (Or at least I'm not going to try.) :D
     

    Xavier da Silva

    Senior Member
    Thank you very much.

    From the answers above, my conclusion is that maybe "have a vice" has more to do with moral (spiritual) defects and is less related to chemical substances, whereas "be addicted to" could be less spiritual (moral) related and is more directly understood as "chemical dependency".
     

    RedwoodGrove

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    I understand that in Portuguese, the word vicio (with appropriate accents) can mean what "addiction" as well "vice" mean in English. As you say, one typically does not call an addiction a vice because vice has overtones of moral failure, in my estimation, and people nowadays tend to regard addiction as a disease.
    From the answers above, my conclusion is that maybe "have a vice" has more to do with moral (spiritual) defects and is less related to chemical substances, whereas "be addicted to" could be less spiritual (moral) related and is more directly understood as "chemical dependency".
    That's right.:thumbsup:
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    It may be worth noting that both vice and addicted/addiction have strong and weakened meanings:

    Vice. Weakened: a guilty but harmless pleasure - "Eating chocolate is my only vice."
    Vice. Strong: "An evil, degrading, or immoral practice or habit; a serious moral failing."
    Addicted/addiction. Weakened: "to be aware that a certain, perfectly legal and moral, behaviour may be excessive." "Oo! Chocolate! May I have some? I'm addicted to chocolate!"
    Addicted/addiction. Strong: "to be physically and or dependent on a substance such that normal life is not possible without it." "In the early years of his life he had been addicted to heroin."
     
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