: of, relating to, or being a work (such as a book or recording) whose production cost is paid by the author or artist
: of, relating to, or being a showcase for a usually famous performer or artist who is often also the project's creator or driving force
write, direct, and star in a vanity film
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Vanity vs. Pride
People often turn to the dictionary in search of the minute and subtle differences between two similar words. The closely related duo of vanity and pride, which overlap significantly in some respects yet differ in others, offer one such example. Putting aside such uses as pride referring to “a company of lions” and vanity meaning “a dressing table,” each of these words may refer to a state of excessive self-esteem. However, pride may also signify a feeling of satisfaction or happiness (either in oneself or on behalf of others) based on something that is well done; vanity is unlikely to be used in this manner. For a well-worded explanation of this distinction, we might look to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, in which the character Mary opines: “Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us.”
The handsome actor's vanity was well-known.
She described her accomplishments without exaggeration or vanity.
Recent Examples on the Web
Mostly, the film delivers a series of throwaway gags that quickly grow tiresome, such as Nick’s constant habit of disgustingly grooming himself in front of the others (Mandylor deserves points for lack of vanity).—Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter, 7 Sep. 2023 Ahead, 23 Amazon skin care products to adorn your vanity ASAP.—Andrea Navarro, Glamour, 6 Sep. 2023 Natural tones and textures on the wood mirror, vanity tray, and picture frame add an organic feel and contrast the clean lines of the vanity and the hexagon floor tile.—Maria Sabella, Better Homes & Gardens, 4 Sep. 2023 The Only Murders in the Building star stood in front of a large makeup vanity with a sleeveless white T-shirt and a pair of teeny black Calvin Klein boxer briefs.—Angel Saunders, Peoplemag, 1 Sep. 2023 There are also two additional storage compartments, including a large vanity, and as mentioned, a second tray table with the ability to sit with a companion.—Chris Dong, Travel + Leisure, 30 Aug. 2023 Every home category is represented, and Alicia adds that this store is the first to include the brand’s new bath vanities.—Sarah Yang, Sunset Magazine, 29 Aug. 2023 The first photo shows Gaga in a black dress seated in front of a vanity and looking away from the mirror, which shows the blonde hair that looked as if it had been twisted, rolled, and then pinned at random to the back of her head.—Gabi Thorne, Allure, 24 Aug. 2023 Cass takes the tale as evidence of her mother’s vanity, but Murray shows the real story of the wedding to be much stranger and sadder: as a teen-ager, Imelda fell in love with Frank Barnes, the handsome star of the football team and the son of the town’s wealthiest man.—Katy Waldman, The New Yorker, 22 Aug. 2023
That Earl got to run another record label, even a semi-vanity label like Rolling Stones Records, is a miracle.—Jon Blistein, Rolling Stone, 19 July 2022 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'vanity.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
Middle English vanite, borrowed from Anglo-French vanité, borrowed from Latin vānitāt-, vānitās "emptiness, lack of judgment, foolish pride," from vānus "empty, lacking content" + -itāt-, -itās-ity — more at wane entry 1