Vanity Fair

noun
  1. (in Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress) a fair that goes on perpetually in the town of Vanity and symbolizes worldly ostentation and frivolity.
  2. (often lowercase) any place or group, as the world or fashionable society, characterized by or displaying a preoccupation with idle pleasures or ostentation.
  3. (italics) a novel (1847–48) by Thackeray.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for vanity fair

Vanity Fair

noun
  1. (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

vanity fair in Culture

Vanity Fair

(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 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.