What word or phrase does your mother always say?


[van-i-tee] /ˈvæn ɪ ti/
noun, plural vanities.
excessive pride in one's appearance, qualities, abilities, achievements, etc.; character or quality of being vain; conceit:
Failure to be elected was a great blow to his vanity.
an instance or display of this quality or feeling.
something about which one is vain.
lack of real value; hollowness; worthlessness:
the vanity of a selfish life.
something worthless, trivial, or pointless.
a wide, counterlike shelf containing a wash basin, as in the bathroom of a hotel or residence, often equipped with shelves, drawers, etc., underneath.
a cabinet built below or around a bathroom sink, primarily to hide exposed pipes.
compact1 (def 13).
produced as a showcase for one's own talents, especially as a writer, actor, singer, or composer:
a vanity production.
of, relating to, or issued by a vanity press:
a spate of vanity books.
Origin of vanity
1200-50; Middle English vanite < Old French < Latin vānitās, equivalent to vān- (see vain) + -itās- -ity
Related forms
vanitied, adjective
1. egotism, complacency, vainglory, ostentation. See pride. 4. emptiness, sham, unreality, folly, triviality, futility.
1. humility. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for vanity
  • Within the bathroom, the cantilevered shelving defines the shower area without walling it off from the vanity.
  • Zach is tall, so he installed a kitchen-cabinet base instead of a shorter bathroom vanity.
  • Now two biologists suggest that these luxurious tresses have a higher purpose than vanity.
  • Globe shapes work well in bathrooms and above vanity mirrors where aesthetics are important.
  • They can be used in bathroom vanity lighting, track lighting and recessed lights, and as chandelier bulbs or outdoor lights.
  • And they wind up euthanized when people, out of vanity and hubris and ignorance, want a wolf.
  • There have always been a few people whose pride and vanity is inseparable from their public displays of pique.
  • The sheer arrogance in this conversation is repulsive and sickening and wreaks of vanity and fear.
  • They are in a position to do so much for so many and much of it is squandered in vanity construction and self-serving projects.
  • But my caring more about their performance in my course than they do would be a kind of vanity.
British Dictionary definitions for vanity


noun (pl) -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
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for vanity

early 13c., "that which is vain, futile, or worthless," from Old French vanite, from Latin vanitatem (nominative vanitas) "emptiness, foolish pride," from vanus "empty, vain, idle" (see vain). Meaning "self-conceited" is attested from mid-14c. Vanity table is attested from 1936. Vanity Fair is from "Pilgrim's Progress" (1678).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for vanity

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for vanity

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with vanity