When you are referring to a person’s vanity, or conceit, you’re usually insinuating that the person has a great deal of interest in himself. Vanity and conceit have almost identical definitions. They can be used interchangeably in many instances. There are differences in how they can be used in a sentence and the history behind the two words.

What Does Vanity Mean?

The definition of “vanity” is an excessive amount of pride in one’s own appearance, abilities or achievements. Someone who is very prideful of his appearance has a great deal of vanity. The word “vain” is derived from “vanity” and is commonly used as an adjective.

Information on the Word Vanity

The word “vanity” is derived from the Middle English word “vanite.” The Latin form of the word is “vanitas.” “Van” means “vain” and “itas” is the Latin suffix for “ity.” It’s origin dates back to the 13th century. Vanity has many synonyms including complacency, egotism, folly, emptiness and futility. Conceit is also an synonym. Humility is an antonym of vanity.

What Does Conceit Mean?

“Conceit” has almost the same definition as vanity, except it has more to do with self-worth than appearance. The word is defined as having an excessively high opinion of a person’s importance, wit or ability. The definition for “conceit” doesn’t refer to having a high opinion of one’s looks. It can also mean that something is created in the mind, such as a thought or an idea. “Conceit” can be used as a noun or a verb, but not an adjective. It can also be used as an idiom.

Information on the Word Conceit

Like vanity, “conceit” originated from Middle English. It dates back to the 14th century and is derived from the word “conceive,” which was based on the analogy of receipt and deceit. It originally meant that something was formed in the mind, but through the centuries it developed a meaning similar to vanity. Synonyms are self-esteem, egotism, complacency and vanity. Like vanity, humility is an antonym of the word.