For instance, a business man might be cold and hard in his demeanor, but really enjoys watching childish cartoons. Or an exercise buff might also really enjoy deep fried chicken. It also might be a two word phrase, but I'm not entirely sure.

  • Now I think I want to eat a fried chicken…
    – o0'.
    Jul 26, 2015 at 14:52
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    Just for future reference, even though you are an English language learner, English.StackExchange is a really good place for word/phrase requests, such as in your question :) Jul 26, 2015 at 19:43

2 Answers 2


That's a guilty pleasure. Anything you're half-ashamed of liking, especially because it seems incongruous with the rest of your life (as those examples), or because society as a whole sort of disapproves (like eating a lot of chocolate ice cream).

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    Nailed it! (0: I wonder if secret indulgence will also fit. Jul 26, 2015 at 1:55
  • @CopperKettle: Everyone would know what you mean, but it's not the specific set phrase for this. Jul 26, 2015 at 2:03
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    @LightnessRacesinOrbit: Sure, but it's idle to pretend that languages don't have idioms, collocations, and so forth, whose frequency can be measured in actual use and compared. Turns out that when you do that, "guilty pleasure" is a lot more common, especially the last few decades. Jul 26, 2015 at 3:31
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    @LightnessRacesinOrbit: seems a bit unfair that you can say "what on earth" and "draw the line at", but English learners shouldn't be informed of their nature as set phrases and therefore their increased comprehensibility in cases where they apply precisely. Jul 26, 2015 at 18:03
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    @LightnessRacesinOrbit: You've gone quite quickly from asking for the meaning of "set phrase" to being sure that those are not examples of set phrases. Perhaps see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Set_phrase Certainly, the term "set phrase" does not imply that anyone isn't free to use any equivalent idiom they wish, and certainly "draw the line at" is a set phrase. Anyway, if you feel this is trolling then you delete comments and I'll follow, but if this discussion adds something worthwhile to the description of "guilty pleasure" as a set phrase then let's keep it. Jul 26, 2015 at 19:48

Taboo ta·boo /təˈbo͞o,taˈbo͞o/ –Google


a social or religious custom prohibiting or forbidding discussion of a particular practice or forbidding association with a particular person, place, or thing.
"the taboo against healing on the Sabbath"

a social practice that is prohibited or restricted.
"speaking about sex is a taboo in his country"


prohibited or restricted by social custom.
"sex was a taboo subject"

It is taboo to ask people of which debaucheries they partake.

Edit: In my haste, I didn't even mention the word embarrassment, which I skipped over to go right to the cause of it. Some people think knowledge of their vices might "ostracize [them] from society" so they'd rather not "mention them" and therefore (personally) consider the topic taboo.

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    There is no implication that a taboo is something you enjoy. It's simply something that's not talked about or done in public.
    – Catija
    Jul 26, 2015 at 22:21
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    Had the word enjoy appeared in the title, I'd have probably gone with vice.
    – Mazura
    Jul 26, 2015 at 22:28
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    Are you saying that you answer questions without actually reading the content? That's not a very helpful way to answer questions. Please be sure to actually read the full body of the question before you answer.
    – Catija
    Jul 26, 2015 at 22:30
  • I try to answer questions with the next guy in mind. There's a highly upvoted answer here that tacked the OP's context. I'm a stickler for succinct titles, as that's what you have to click to find these answers.
    – Mazura
    Jul 26, 2015 at 22:38
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    "For example, a business man might enjoy watching childish cartoons." How does that relate in any way to taboo? If a grandmother likes watching Tom and Jerry, there's no taboo against that. She just feels a little silly for enjoying a child's cartoon and doesn't really bring it up in conversations with folks she doesn't know well. There are a few pop songs on my playlist that I enjoy that no-one knows about but my husband, and he teases me relentlessly over them :) I would not be ostracized from society because I'm enjoying music targeted at 14-year-olds.
    – ColleenV
    Jul 26, 2015 at 23:03

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