[ van-i-tee ]
/ ˈvæn ɪ ti /
Save This Word!

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.
There are grammar debates that never die; and the ones highlighted in the questions in this quiz are sure to rile everyone up once again. Do you know how to answer the questions that cause some of the greatest grammar debates?
Question 1 of 7
Which sentence is correct?

Origin of vanity

First recorded in 1200–50; Middle English vanite from Old French vanité from Latin vānitās, equivalent to vān- (see vain) + -itās -ity

synonym study for vanity

1. See pride.


van·i·tied, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does vanity mean?

Vanity is the excessive pride in oneself, usually related to appearance or accomplishments, as in Simon’s vanity wouldn’t let him purchase a more practical car.

Vanity can also refer to something a person is overly proud of, as in Lars’ only real vanity was his singing ability.

Vanity can also refer to an area with a mirror where you would groom yourself, like a dressing table or a counter and sink. A vanity can also be a place for storing grooming products, such as a shelf, cupboard, or case.

Example: That museum of vanity that he calls a house is just full of his own artwork and paintings.

Where does vanity come from?

The first records of the term vanity come from the 1200s. It ultimately comes from the Latin vānitās, which combines vān, meaning “vain,” and the Latin suffix –itās, which creates nouns that describe a condition, state, or quality.

Vanity is often considered a negative thing because someone who is vain does not often recognize their faults or focuses too much on things that aren’t considered to have lasting or serious value, such as money and beauty. Most uses of vanity are related to this idea.

The furniture or storage sense of vanity is not considered to be a negative, however. Taking care of your appearance is generally considered a good thing, as long as it’s balanced with caring about the kind of person you are and how you treat others.

Did you know … ?

What are some other forms related to vanity?

  • vanitied (adjective)

What are some synonyms for vanity?

What are some words that share a root or word element with vanity

What are some words that often get used in discussing vanity?

How is vanity used in real life?

Vanity is normally used by people who are criticizing someone’s actions or appearance.

Try using vanity!

Is vanity used correctly in the following sentence?

Michael’s vanity is his intelligence, which he shows off by explaining ordinary things in great detail.

How to use vanity in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for vanity

/ (ˈvænɪtɪ) /

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