n. pl. van·i·ties
a. Excessive pride in one's appearance or accomplishments; conceit. See Synonyms at conceit.
b. Something about which one is vain or conceited: "One thing ... rather quenched her vanities: she had to wear her cousin's clothes" (Louisa May Alcott).
a. Worthlessness, pointlessness, or futility: the vanity of regretting missed opportunities.
b. Something that is vain, futile, or worthless.
[Middle English vanite, from Old French, from Latin vānitās, from vānus, empty; see euə- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.