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Vanity Fair

(in Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress) a fair that goes on perpetually in the town of Vanity and symbolizes worldly ostentation and frivolity.
(often lowercase) any place or group, as the world or fashionable society, characterized by or displaying a preoccupation with idle pleasures or ostentation.
(italics) a novel (1847–48) by Thackeray. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for Vanity Fair
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Now, do you think you could guess how Mr. Fearing conducted himself in Vanity Fair?

  • Had Vanity Fair after all been a satisfying exchange for love?

  • Langdon's sables, chinchillas, ermines, and jewels were always sticking out from the pages of Vanity Fair and Vogue.

    Gigolo Edna Ferber
  • It beareth the name of Vanity Fair, because the town where 't is kept is lighter than vanity.

    Familiar Quotations John Bartlett
  • It is a pity he did not write his memoirs; they would have added a valuable page to the history of 'Vanity Fair.'

    The Wits and Beaux of Society Grace & Philip Wharton
British Dictionary definitions for Vanity Fair

Vanity Fair

(often not capitals) (literary) the social life of a community, esp of a great city, or the world in general, considered as symbolizing worldly frivolity
Word Origin
from Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Vanity Fair in Culture

Vanity Fair definition

(1847–1848) A novel by the English author William Makepeace Thackeray. The leading character is Becky Sharp, an unscrupulous woman who gains wealth and influence by her cleverness.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Difficulty index for Vanity Fair

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