From Middle English waynglori (worthless glory), from Old French vaine glorie, from Medieval Latin vāna glōria, from Latin vāna (empty, groundless, boastful) + glōria (fame, ambition, boasting), apparently modelled after similar terms in Germanic languages. Compare Old English īdel wuldor (vain glory) and īdelġielp (vainglory).


  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: vain‧glo‧ry


vainglory (countable and uncountable, plural vainglories)

  1. Excessive vanity.
  2. Boastful, unwarranted pride in one's accomplishments or qualities.
    • 1962, Hailey, Arthur, “Chapter Eleven: The White House”, in In High Places (fiction, e-book, hardcover, paperback):
      Then he reasoned, as he had in the days past, that the course of human history had shown national pride—the inflexible kind—to be mankind’s worst enemy, and ordinary people paid the price in suffering. Nations had gone down because of vainglory, when moderation might have civilized and saved them.
  3. Vain, ostentatious display.
    • 1863, Sheridan Le Fanu, The House by the Churchyard:
      The pew would soon want new flooring, Mr. Dangerfield thought, and the Castlemallard arms and supporters, a rather dingy piece of vainglory, overhanging the main seat on the wall, would be nothing the worse of a little fresh gilding and paint.
  4. A regarding of oneself with undue favor.

Derived termsEdit


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vainglory (third-person singular simple present vainglories, present participle vainglorying, simple past and past participle vaingloried)

  1. (intransitive) To boast; to act in a vain manner.