The Vanity of Vanities

The Vanity of Vanities

A vanity is an object which is not useful and is not meaningful. It is a type of waste, since it contains no real substance. It is also an indication of uncertainty, which makes it unsuitable for a bathroom. While many people want a certain assurance of the future, others are content to experience the uncertainty that vanity creates. A vanity is a trifling activity, as seen in the famous Willingham story.

The vanity of vanities is a biblical expression, and is a phrase derived from the Hebrew word “vanitas,” which means “fruitless.” In its original sense, this phrase meant the futility of human effort in this world. Hence, vanitas refers to the total preoccupation of the subject. In other words, it is an euphemism for the entire world. However, modern translations tend to render it as “vain” or “meaningless.”

Vanity of vanities is a phrase found in the Book of Ecclesiastes. The word itself is derived from the Hebrew root ‘va’, which means “fruitless” or “meaningless.” It is used to refer to the utterly futileness of human endeavors in this world. It is an apt summary of our total preoccupation. Therefore, a vanity is a piece of furniture which can be a source of pride and joy.

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