vanity fair

noun, often capitalized V&F

Definition of vanity fair

: a scene or place characterized by frivolity and ostentation

First Known Use of vanity fair

1754, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for vanity fair

after Vanity-Fair, a fair held in the frivolous town of Vanity in Pilgrim's Progress (1678) by John Bunyan

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about vanity fair

Time Traveler for vanity fair

Time Traveler

The first known use of vanity fair was in 1754

See more words from the same year

Statistics for vanity fair

Cite this Entry

“Vanity fair.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Jan. 2021.

More from Merriam-Webster on vanity fair

Britannica English: Translation of vanity fair for Arabic Speakers

Comments on vanity fair

What made you want to look up vanity fair? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!