Definition of vanity in English:


Syllabification: van·i·ty
Pronunciation: /ˈvanədē

noun (plural vanities)

1Excessive pride in or admiration of one’s own appearance or achievements: it flattered his vanity to think I was in love with him the personal vanities and ambitions of politicians
More example sentences
  • He had no concern for his appearance; no personal vanity.
  • A heart full of false pride, vanity and arrogance has no room for wisdom, so it will remain lost in the darkness.
  • This is not, however, a simple tale of vanity or excessive consumption.
1.1 [as modifier] Denoting a person or company that publishes works at the author’s expense: a vanity press
More example sentences
  • He lands a job editing manuscripts at a vanity publisher.
  • I've just come across a vanity publishing firm called Blogbinders, which turns blog content into bound volumes.
  • Backroom describes itself as essentially a vanity press, only capable of publishing work with the benefit of private backing.
2The quality of being worthless or futile: the vanity of human wishes
More example sentences
  • They might consider the bounty of the earth, in one mood, or the vanity of human wishes and desires in another.
  • He was reflecting, perhaps, on the vanity of human passions.
  • He composed another poem on the vanity of worldliness.
3North American A dressing table.
More example sentences
  • Upon examining the rest of the drawers, she realized it was more of a vanity than a desk.
  • She pictured it the way she remembered it: light purple walls with a dark purple carpet, white wicker furniture and a small vanity in the corner.
  • The room was like some sort of ritzy hotel, complete with a dresser, a vanity, and a four-poster bed.
3.1A bathroom unit consisting of a washbasin typically set into a counter with a cabinet beneath.
More example sentences
  • There's lovely soap on the bathroom vanity so lather up and then come see me for a snack.
  • Plenty of storage is provided beneath the vanity, and small niches for bath essentials are built into the shower wall to eliminate the need for caddies.
  • Installing a new bathroom vanity is an easy way to spruce up the look of a bathroom and provide improved storage space.


Middle English: from Old French vanite, from Latin vanitas, from vanus 'empty' (see vain).

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