Definition of vanity in English:


Line breaks: van¦ity
Pronunciation: /ˈvanɪti

noun (plural vanities)

1 [mass noun] Excessive pride in or admiration of one’s own appearance or achievements: it flattered his vanity to think I was in love with him [count noun]: the 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 publishing 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.
2 [mass noun] The 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.


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

Definition of vanity in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day oleaginous
Pronunciation: ˌəʊlɪˈadʒɪnəs
rich in, covered with, or producing oil; oily