(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.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
(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 for Vanity Fair
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
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.