Vanity is excessive pride in or admiration of one's own abilities, appearance or achievements.
- Vanity was the beginning and the end of Sir Walter Elliot's character; vanity of person and of situation.
- Jane Austen, Persuasion (1818), Ch. 1.
- It beareth the name of Vanity Fair, because the town where it is kept is "lighter than vanity."
- John Bunyan, The Pilgrim's Progress (1678), Part I.
- 'Tis solitude should teach us how to die;
It hath no flatterers; vanity can give
No hollow aid; alone — man with his God must strive.
- Lord Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, Canto IV (1818), Stanza 33.
- Ecclesiastes said that "all is vanity,"
Most modern preachers say the same, or show it
By their examples of true Christianity:
In short, all know, or very soon may know it.
- Lord Byron, Don Juan (1818-24), Canto VII, Stanza 6.
- Applause is the spur of noble minds, the end and aim of weak ones.
- Charles Caleb Colton, Lacon, vol. I (1820), # 324.
- That they may not become too complacent or delighted in married life, he makes them distressed by the shortcomings of their partners, or humbles them through willful offspring, or afflicts them with the want or loss of children. But, if in all these matters he is more merciful to them, he shows them by diseases and dangers how unstable and passing all mortal blessings are, that they may not be puffed up with vain glory.
- John Calvin Golden Booklet of the True Christian Life pg. 69
- Vanity plays lurid tricks with our memory.
- Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim (1900), Ch. 41.
- Sooth'd with the sound, the king grew vain:
Fought all his battles o'er again;
And thrice he routed all his foes, and thrice he slew the slain.
- John Dryden, Alexander's Feast (1697), line 66.
- That was the source of my vanity and my cowardice: always I believed everyone was watching me.
- Andre Dubus, "The Judge and Other Snakes", Broken Vessels (1991).
- Vanitas vanitatum, dixit Ecclesiastes, vanitas vanitatum et omnia vanitas.
- Vanity of vanities, said the preacher; vanity of vanities, and everything is vanity.
- Vulgate, a late 4th-century Latin translation of the Bible. Cf. Ecclesiastes 1:2.
- … when we place our hope in worldly vanities, in money, in success. Then the Word of God says to us: “Why do you seek the living among the dead?”. Why are you searching there? That thing cannot give you life! Yes, perhaps it will cheer you up for a moment, for a day, for a week, for a month … and then?
- Vanity not only distances us from God: it makes us look ridiculous.
- Pride that dines on Vanity sups on Contempt.
- Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanack, 1758 edition
- I scarce ever heard or saw the introductory words, "Without vanity I may say," &c., but some vain thing immediately followed. Most people dislike vanity in others, whatever share they have of it themselves; but I give it fair quarter wherever I meet with it, being persuaded that it is often productive of good to the possessor, and to others that are within his sphere of action; and therefore, in many cases, it would not be altogether absurd if a man were to thank God for his vanity among the other comforts of life.
- Benjamin Franklin, Autobiography (1817).
- There is no doubt that in exchanging a self-centered for a selfless life we gain enormously in self-esteem. The vanity of the selfless, even those who practice utmost humility, is boundless.
- Eric Hoffer, The True Believer: Thoughts On The Nature Of Mass Movements (1951), Section 10.
- The expression of vanity and self-love becomes less offensive, when it retains something of simplicity and frankness.
- Alexander von Humboldt, Equinoctial Regions of America (1814-1829), trans. Thomasina Ross.
- No place affords a more striking conviction of the vanity of human hopes than a public library.
- Samuel Johnson, The Rambler, No. 106 (March 23, 1751).
- Vanity is the real lever with which Archimedes said he could move the earth;...
- Letitia Elizabeth Landon, Ethel Churchill (1837): Vol II, Chapter 28.
- Nothing deceives its possessor like vanity.
- Letitia Elizabeth Landon, Lady Anne Granard (1842): Vol I, Chapter 6.
- O vanity! you are the lever by means of which Archimedes wished to lift the earth!
- Mikhail Lermontov, A Hero of Our Time (1839).
- The market-place, the eager love of gain,
Whose aim is vanity, and whose end is pain!
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Morituri Salutamus (1875), St. 23.
- Pride and Vanity have built more Hospitals than all the Virtues together.
- Bernard Mandeville, The Fable of the Bees (1714) "An Essay on Charity, and Charity-Schools", p. 294.
- Too much tail. All that jewelry weighs it down. Like vanity. Can't nobody fly with all that shit. Wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.
- Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon (1977), on why a male peacock can't fly much better than a chicken.
- Deception, flattering, lying, deluding, talking behind the back, putting up a false front, living in borrowed splendor, wearing a mask, hiding behind convention, playing a role for others and for oneself — in short, a continuous fluttering around the solitary flame of vanity — is so much the rule and the law among men that there is almost nothing which is less comprehensible than how an honest and pure drive for truth could have arisen among them.
- One will rarely err if extreme actions be ascribed to vanity, ordinary actions to habit, and mean actions to fear.
- Friedrich Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human (1878), I.74
- Our vanity would have just that which we do best count as that which is hardest for us. The origin of many a morality.
- Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil (1886), Chapter IV, Aphorism 143
- The vanity of others is only counter to our taste when it is counter to our vanity.
- Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil (1886), Chapter IV, Aphorism 176.
- Asceticism is the trifling of an enthusiast with his power, a puerile coquetting with his selfishness or his vanity, in the absence of any sufficiently great object to employ the first or overcome the last.
- Florence Nightingale, Letter (5 September 1857), quoted in The Life of Florence Nightingale (1913) by Edward Tyas Cook, p. 369
- By mortifying vanity we do ourselves no good. It is the want of interest in our life which produces it; by filling up that want of interest in our life we can alone remedy it. And, did we even see this, how can we make the difference? How obtain the interest which society declares she does not want, and we cannot want?
- Florence Nightingale, Cassandra (1860).
- That something so obvious as the vanity of the world should be so little recognized that people find it odd and surprising to be told that it is foolish to seek greatness; that is most remarkable.
- Cada um tem a sua vaidade, e a vaidade de cada um é o seu esquecimento de que há outros com alma igual.
- Everyone has his vanity, and each one's vanity is his forgetting that there are others with an equal soul.
- Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet, "Factless Autobiography", (Richard Zenith Edition, Lisbon, 2006, p. 88).
- And not a vanity is given in vain.
- Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man (1733-34), Epistle II, line 290.
- Here files of pins extend their shining rows,
Puffs, powders, patches, bibles, billet-doux.
- Alexander Pope, The Rape of the Lock (1712), Canto I, line 137.
- On parle peu quand la vanité ne fait pas parler.
- When not prompted by vanity, we say little.
- François de La Rochefoucauld, Reflections; or Sentences and Moral Maxims (1665–1678), Maxim 137
- Ce qui nous rend la vanité des autres insupportable, c'est qu'elle blesse la nôtre.
- What makes the vanity of others insufferable to us is that it wounds our own.
- François de La Rochefoucauld, Reflections; or Sentences and Moral Maxims (1665–1678), Maxim 389.
- Provided a man is not mad, he can be cured of every folly but vanity; there is no cure for this but experience, if indeed there is any cure for it at all.
- Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Emile: Or, On Education (1762), Book IV.
- Certainly human life, like all inferior goods, is covered on the outside with a false glitter; what suffers always conceals itself. On the other hand, everyone parades whatever pomp and splendour he can obtain by effort, and the more he is wanting in inner contentment, the more he desires to stand out as a lucky and fortunate person in the opinion of others. Folly goes to such lengths, and the opinion of others is a principal aim of the efforts of everyone, although the complete futility of this is expressed by the fact that in almost all languages vanity, vanitas, originally signifies emptiness and nothingness.
- Arthur Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Representation (1859), Volume I, Book IV, § 59.
- Pride is an established conviction of one's own paramount worth in some particular respect, while vanity is the desire of rousing such a conviction in others, and it is generally accompanied by the secret hope of ultimately coming to the same conviction oneself. Pride works from within; it is the direct appreciation of oneself. Vanity is the desire to arrive at this appreciation indirectly, from without.
- Arthur Schopenhauer, Parerga and Paralipomena (1851), "Aphorisms on the Wisdom of Life", Vol. 1, Ch. 4, § 2.
- Where doth the world thrust forth a vanity—
* * * * * *
That is not quickly buzz'd into his ears?
- William Shakespeare, Richard II (c. 1595), Act II, scene 1, line 24.
- Light vanity, insatiate cormorant,
Consuming means, soon preys upon itself.
- William Shakespeare, Richard II (c. 1595), Act II, scene 1, line 38.
- Hoy-day, what a sweep of vanity comes this way!
- William Shakespeare, Timon of Athens (date uncertain, published 1623), Act I, scene 2, line 137.
- Have we raised ourselves up to that outlook opposed to the world, and have we tried to destroy the esteem and love for it in all hearts?
- Have we referred to it with indignation, distance and contempt; and have we made it clear that it is filled only with corruption, vanity and falsehood?
- Have we condemned the world's sentiments? Are we opposed to its maxims? And have we made all our efforts to abolish its laws and overturn its accursed customs?
- Have we despised what the world esteems and esteemed what it despises? Have we fled what it wants and wanted what it flees? Have we loved what it hates and hated what it loves?
- Have we had the colossal aversion to the world's public assemblies, to its spectacles and all its pomp? ...
- Have we fled the company of worldly persons, whom the saints, especially the Ecclesiastics, advise us to avoid like the plague, whom one should see only by necessity, and from whom we should separate ourselves as vigilantly as we can?
- Have we wanted, in order to render our separation from the world as perfect as the sanctity of our state demands, that the world have aversion to us, as we have aversion to the world, following the example the apostle has given us, “The world is crucified to me, and I to the world” (Gal. 6:14).
- Louis Tronson, Examens particuliers sur divers sujets (1690), pp. 321-322
Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical QuotationsEdit
- Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 829-30.
- Oh, wad some power the giftie gie us
To see oursel's as ithers see us!
It wad frae monie a blunder free us,
And foolish notion.
- Robert Burns, To a Louse.
- Vanity is as ill at ease under indifference as tenderness is under a love which it cannot return.
- George Eliot, Daniel Deronda (1876), Book I, Chapter X.
- How many saucy airs we meet,
From Temple Bar to Aldgate street!
- John Gay, The Barley-Mow and Dunghill, line 1.
- Vain? Let it be so! Nature was her teacher,
What if a lovely and unsistered creature
Loved her own harmless gift of pleasing feature.
- Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., Iris, Her Book, in The Professor at the Breakfast Table (1859), X.
- "Vanitas vanitatum" has rung in the ears
Of gentle and simple for thousands of years;
The wail still is heard, yet its notes never scare
Either simple or gentle from Vanity Fair.
- Frederick Locker-Lampson, Vanity Fair.
- What is your sex's earliest, latest care,
Your heart's supreme ambition? To be fair.
- George Lyttelton, 1st Baron Lyttelton, Advice to a Lady, line 17.
- Every man at his best state is altogether vanity.
- Psalms, XXXIX. 5.
- Surely men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie: to be laid in the balance they are altogether lighter than vanity.
- Psalms. LXII. 9.
- Il est difficile d'estimer quelqu'un comme il veut l'être.
- It is difficult to esteem a man as highly as he would wish.
- Luc de Clapiers, Marquis de Vauvenargues, Reflexions, LXVII.
- Maud Muller looked and sighed: "Ah me!
That I the Judge's bride might be!
He would dress me up in silks so fine,
And praise and toast me at his wine."
- John Greenleaf Whittier, Maud Muller, line 35.
- Meek Nature's evening comment on the shows
That for oblivion take their daily birth
From all the fuming vanities of earth.
- William Wordsworth, Sonnet, Sky, Prospect from the Plain of France.
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