Difference Between Pride and Vanity

Main – Difference – Pride vs Vanity

Pride is a feeling of pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements or abilities. Vanity is the excessive pride in one’s appearance, achievements or abilities. Although some people assume pride to be a selfish and harmful feeling, pride is a natural human feeling. Pride can sometimes also be somewhat synonymous with self-respect. The main difference between pride and vanity is that pride is a positive and natural feeling whereas vanity is a negative feeling. 

This article,

1. What Does Pride Mean? – Definition, Meaning, and Characteristics

2. What Does Vanity Mean? – Definition, Meaning, and Characteristics

3. What is the Difference between Pride and Vanity?Difference Between Pride and Vanity - Pride vs Vanity Comparison Summary

What is Pride

The Oxford dictionary defines pride as “a feeling of deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of one’s close associates, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired” and Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as “a feeling that you respect yourself and deserve to be respected by other people” and “a feeling of happiness that you get when you or someone you know does something good, difficult, etc.” As seen from the above definitions, pride refers to a quite positive feeling, contrarily to many people’s assumptions.

We feel proud when we have accomplished something great. Pride can also refer to the self-respect and your desire to be respected by others. Pride is a very natural human feeling. Although excessive pride is not good, pride, in general, is not something selfish or negative. It is the respect and liking we feel for ourselves and others. For example, if a child becomes first in a race, that child will feel proud of his achievement and his family and friends will also well proud of him. This is a very natural phenomenon.

Main Difference - Pride vs Vanity

What is Vanity

Vanity is the negative aspect of pride. The Oxford dictionary defines vanity as “excessive pride in or admiration of one’s own appearance or achievements” and Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as “the quality of people who have too much pride in their own appearance, abilities, achievements, etc.” As these definitions indicate, vanity is the excessive pride about oneself. It is important to notice that vanity is a feeling we feel towards ourselves, – it refers to our own pride about our appearance or achievements.

Vanity is also considered to be one of the deadly sins and can lead to destructions. It is portrayed as a negative and destructive feeling in many fairy tales, myths, and tales. For example, it is vanity that leads to Narcissus’s fall in the Greek tale Echo and Narcissus; it is also the main weakness of the evil queen in Snow white.

Jane Austen (in Pride and Prejudice) explains the difference between pride and vanity as follows.

“Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us.”

Difference Between Pride and Vanity

Difference Between Pride and Vanity


Pride is a feeling of deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of one’s close associates.

Vanity is the excessive pride in or admiration of one’s own appearance or achievements.

Negative vs Positive

Pride is a positive feeling.

Vanity is a negative feeling.

Oneself vs Others

Pride can also be associated with achievements of one’s close associates.

Vanity is a feeling associated with one’s own achievements.

Image Courtesy: 

“I’m Proud of You Folks Too” – NARA – 514609″ By Whitcomb, Jon, 1906-1988, Artist (NARA record: 4870564) – U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (Public Domain) via

 By Auguste Toulmouche –, Public Domain) via

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.

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