I’m looking for a word that describes “a habit, quality or act that we should not strive to acquire or embody”.
An example would be “being lazy”, “uncooperative”, “stubborn”.
These can be said to be “negative qualities” for an individual, I’m looking for a word that succinctly describes these unwanted qualities according to most people (societal norms, I suppose).
It would be something of an antonym to the word “virtue”.
A virtue is something we strive for or at least value in others.
A quick google search contains the following list of virtues:
discipline, kindness, creativity, trust, gratitude, service
Arguably, you could say that we admire “disciplined people”, that “being kind” is a positive quality, etc.
However, when searching for an antonym for virtue the following words pop up: dishonesty, evil, imperfection, disregard, unfairness, immorality, vice
Now, all of these word have pretty harsh and negative connotations.
If I say someone is lazy or stubborn, it would a bit overbearing to claim that this is a “sin” or a “vice”, or even an act of “immorality”.
I can certainly make the case for why this would not be a quality that most aspire to adopt.
So, is there a word that describes something unwanted, something that is not virtuous but nevertheless not as grave as “immorality”, “vice” or “sin”?
I can think of a few words that might fit: flaw, blemish, fault, imperfection, and weakness come to mind. In the context you mention, I’d use “imperfections”.
- Imperfection a fault or defect. Imperfection applies more comprehensively to any deficiency or shortcoming: “A true critic ought to dwell rather upon excellencies than imperfections” (Joseph Addison)