What Is Latin For All Is Vanity?

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The Latin phrase is "OMNIA VANITAS." It is usually part of a sentence from the Latin translation of the Bible.

The phrase is taken from the Old Testament Book of Ecclesiastes (son of King David) and the full sentence is "Vanity of Vanities, and all is vanity." (Vanitas vanitatum, et omnia vanitas.) The general meaning is that everything we think of as important on earth is ultimately pointless.

This is the idea behind "Vanity Fair" in John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress (an allegory about a Christian soul who has to pass through a number of trials on his way to heaven - Vanity Fair represents the world and its empty temptations.) WM Thackeray also used it as the title of his famous novel, which again is about worldly people leading shallow lives.

So you can see that the title of the modern-day magazine Vanity Fair was originally meant to be ironic!

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