Origin: OE. Vanite, vanite, L. Vanitas, fr. Vanus empty, vain. See Vain.

1. The quality or state of being vain; want of substance to satisfy desire; emptiness; unsubstantialness; unrealness; falsity. "Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity." (Eccl. I. 2) "Here I may well show the vanity of that which is reported in the story of Walsingham." (Sir J. Davies)

2. An inflation of mind upon slight grounds; empty pride inspired by an overweening conceit of one's personal attainments or decorations; an excessive desire for notice or approval; pride; ostentation; conceit. "The exquisitely sensitive vanity of Garrick was galled." (Macaulay)

3. That which is vain; anything empty, visionary, unreal, or unsubstantial; fruitless desire or effort; trifling labour productive of no good; empty pleasure; vain pursuit; idle show; unsubstantial enjoyment. "Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher." (Eccl. I. 2) "Vanity possesseth many who are desirous to know the certainty of things to come." (Sir P. Sidney) "[Sin] with vanity had filled the works of men." (Milton) "Think not, when woman's transient breath is fled, That all her vanities at once are dead; Succeeding vanities she still regards." (Pope)

4. One of the established characters in the old moralities and puppet shows. See Morality. "You . . . Take vanity the puppet's part." (Shak)

Synonyms: Egotism, pride, emptiness, worthlessness, self-sufficiency. See Egotism, and Pride.

(01 Mar 1998)

vanishing cream, vanishing lung, vanishing lung syndrome < Prev | Next > vanity domain, vanjas, vanner

Bookmark with: icon icon icon icon iconword visualiser Go and visit our forums Community Forums