noun, plural van·i·ties.


produced as a showcase for one's own talents, especially as a writer, actor, singer, or composer: surprisingly entertaining for a vanity production.
of, relating to, or issued by a vanity press: a spate of vanity books.

Origin of vanity

1200–50; Middle English vanite < Old French < Latin vānitās, equivalent to vān- (see vain) + -itās- -ity
Related formsvan·i·tied, adjective

Synonyms for vanity

1. egotism, complacency, vainglory, ostentation. See pride. 4. emptiness, sham, unreality, folly, triviality, futility.

Antonyms for vanity Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for vanity

Contemporary Examples of vanity

Historical Examples of vanity

  • Her woman's vanity blossomed deliciously in the atmosphere of a man's love.


    William J. Locke

  • And have you not before now said, that nothing is so penetrating as the eye of a lover who has vanity?

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • Alas, the vanity of mortal projects, even when they centre in the grave!

    Other Tales and Sketches

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • Her slips with these men wounded Shakespeare's vanity, and he persisted in underrating her.

  • When his vanity was injured, his blindness was almost inconceivable.

British Dictionary definitions for vanity


noun plural -ties

the state or quality of being vain; excessive pride or conceit
ostentation occasioned by ambition or pride
an instance of being vain or something about which one is vain
the state or quality of being valueless, futile, or unreal
something that is worthless or useless
NZ short for vanity unit

Word Origin for vanity

C13: from Old French vanité, from Latin vānitās emptiness, from vānus empty
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

Word Origin and History for vanity

early 13c., "that which is vain, futile, or worthless," from Old French vanite, from Latin vanitatem (nominative vanitas) "emptiness, foolish pride," from vanus "empty, vain, idle" (see vain). Meaning "self-conceited" is attested from mid-14c. Vanity table is attested from 1936. Vanity Fair is from "Pilgrim's Progress" (1678).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper