1. vanity market
  2. vanity blonde girl

What is the right meaning of vanity fair? Could anyone tell me?

  • It originally refers to: (in Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress) a fair that goes on perpetually in the town of Vanity and symbolizes worldly ostentation and frivolity.
    – user5267
    Feb 3, 2017 at 9:58
  • now used in the sense of: (often lowercase) any place or group, as the world or fashionable society, characterized by or displaying a preoccupation with idle pleasures or ostentation. dictionary.com/browse/vanity-fair
    – user5267
    Feb 3, 2017 at 9:59

1 Answer 1


Vanity Fair is originally a phrase from the 17th-century Christian allegory The Pilgrim's Progress from This World to That Which Is to Come, by John Bunyan. It is the name of a year-round market where all worldly desires are catered to:

At this fair are all such merchandise sold, as houses, lands, trades, places, honours, preferments, titles, countries, kingdoms, lusts, pleasures, and delights of all sorts, as whores, bawds, wives, husbands, children, masters, servants, lives, blood, bodies, souls, silver, gold, pearls, precious stones, and what not.
   And, moreover, at this fair there is at all times to be seen juggling cheats, games, plays, fools, apes, knaves, and rogues, and that of every kind.
   Here are to be seen, too, and that for nothing, thefts, murders, adulteries, false swearers, and that of a blood-red colour.

Vanity is used here in the literal sense "emptiness": all the goods sold here are things of no value to a Christian.

Pilgrim's Progress was enormously popular well into the 20th century, and Vanity Fair is widely used to refer to the seductiveness of worldly things, particularly the fashions and recreations of the rich. Thackeray adopted it as the title of his best-known novel, 1847-48, a satire on upper-class hypocrisy, and since then several magazines have used the name; the current Vanity Fair is a magazine of fashion and popular culture, with some fairly lightweight and sensationalist treatment of current affairs.

Google reports "no results" on a search for vanity blonde girl. Something like Vanity blonde might be used to characterize a fair-haired woman as looking like a Vanity Fair model.

  • I think the OP looked up fair and found it also meant "blonde", hence the "vanity fair" (= a blonde; i.e. girl)
    – Mari-Lou A
    Feb 3, 2017 at 10:44

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .