• synonyms


  1. a type of still-life painting that flourished in the Netherlands from about 1620 to 1650, conveying a religious message and characterized by objects symbolic of mortality and the meaninglessness of worldly pleasures.
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Origin of vanitas

1905–10; Latin: literally, vanity
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for vanitas

Historical Examples

  • Or, is it about a woman who wears her life away in the farce of 'Vanitas Vanitatum?'

    Discourses of Keidansky

    Bernard G. Richards

  • His cry of vanitas vanitatum is itself only a harmless vanity.

    George Bernard Shaw

    Gilbert K. Chesterton

  • Is it possible then that thy name is also vanitas vanitatum, like the other things of this world?

    From the Caves and Jungles of Hindostan

    Helena Pretrovna Blavatsky

  • There is Vanitas over the way;—he once wore just such pigmy affairs.

  • Was he muttering to himself the usual consolation of the ‘have-beens’—vanitas vanitatum?