Part of speech:
(Like “milk,” “rice,” and “education,” uncountable nouns are words for stuff that can’t be broken into exact units. You talk about “some milk,” “the rice,” and “a lot of education,” but you don’t say “a milk,” “three rices,” or “many educations.”
Likewise, talk about “the vainglory,” “such vainglory,” “no vainglory,” just "vainglory" by itself, and so on, but don’t say “vainglories.”)
The word "vainglory" has Latin bits that literally mean "empty glory." To have vainglory is to have an empty, baseless, or highly exaggerated sense of adoration for yourself. In other words, vainglory is exaggerated or self-important boasting or self-love.
How to use it:
Talk about "the vainglory of something" or "the vainglory of someone," as in "the vainglory of selfies" or "the vainglory of Kanye West." You can say that someone did something with vainglory, as in "She went crazy with vainglory and started handing out autographs." Someone can display vainglory, show vainglory, reveal vainglory, and so on, as in "His acceptance speech revealed a disturbing vainglory" or "Their FAQ page displayed a baffling vainglory with questions like 'How did you get so incredibly awesome?'".
Most of the time, though, we use this word in the same abstract way we use other words for feelings and emotional actions, like "happiness" and "forgiveness." That is, just use "vainglory" as a noun without "a" or "the." Examples: "Vainglory is her worst attribute." "Seeing my excellent competitors saved me from vainglory." "In a professional photographer, nothing is more annoying than vainglory."
As a first grader who had won our school's competition to sell the most wrapping paper for a fundraiser, I was filled with vainglory and couldn't understand why the kids on my bus didn't burst into applause when I boarded it.
Eddie Izzard is an accomplished comedian, actor, and polyglot, but he has never been vainglorious and so he seems warm and relatable.
Look away from the screen to explain the definition in your own words. You'll know you understand what "vainglory" means when you can explain it without saying "pride" or "exaggerated."
Think of someone you know who annoys you with a bunch of bragging or showing off, and fill in the blanks: "I could really do without (Person's) vainglorious _____.”
Example: “I could really do without some of William Faulkner's vainglorious sentences that try so hard to be profound but only seem sloppy and unclear.”
Spend at least 20 seconds occupying your mind with the game and quote below. Then try the review questions. Don't go straight to the review now; let your working memory empty out first.
Playing With Words:
This month's game is "Guess the real pop song title when I give you a long-winded, highfalutin version of it." All the answers this month will be titles of popular songs released no earlier than 2012. Try it out each day and see the right answer the next day. We're playing this in order to appreciate the simple, precise vocabulary of pop song titles, despite how often they are criticized for being sappy, trite, and simplistic.
Yesterday’s answer: “Proceed Blissfully in a Non-Laborious Manner” is really “Cruise” by Florida Georgia Line featuring Nelly.
Try this one today: “Manifestation of Appreciation via Manual Percussion”
A Point Well Made:
Ernest Hemingway: “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”
1. The opposite of VAINGLORY is
2. It's hard to swallow the vainglory of politicians when they _____.
A. gloss over their failures and exaggerate their successes.
B. cite statistics and studies that no one has ever heard of.
C. inundate us with advertisements and propaganda.
Answers are below.
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Make Your Point is crafted with love and brought to you each day for free by Mrs. Liesl Johnson, M.Ed., a word lover, learning enthusiast, and private tutor of reading and writing in the verdant little town of Hilo, Hawaii. For writing tips, online learning, essay guidance, and more, please visit www.HiloTutor.com.
Disclaimer: Word meanings presented here are expressed in plain language and are limited to common, useful applications only. Readers interested in authoritative and multiple definitions of words are encouraged to check a dictionary. Likewise, word meanings, usage, and pronunciations are limited to American English; these elements may vary across world Englishes.
Answers to review questions:
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