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Difference Between Vainglory and Pride

Vainglory vs Pride

“Vainglory” and “pride” are two nouns that are often used and mentioned interchangeably to describe people with certain narcissistic attributes.

Vainglory is a condition that results from the human desire to be seen, appreciated, acknowledged, and accepted. It is often attributed to people who are attention seekers and have a thirst for honors, rewards, status, or other forms of acknowledgment from other people. The pattern of attention is outward and decentralized. In a sense, vainglory is what an audience or other people think of a certain person.

People with vainglory are described as boastful of their achievements whether large or small. They celebrate their accomplishment or qualities in a grand scale. If their assumptions or achievements are ignored or disproved, they act like it was a matter of no consequence.

Vainglory comes from the heart and it ends in pride. Vainglory is one of the cardinal sins apart from the famous seven deadly sins in the model introduced by the Medieval Church. It is also the earlier and outdated term for vanity. The change from vainglory to vanity was due to semantic changes.

On the other hand, pride is a characteristic that is less noticeable. It stems from too much self-respect and self-value in a person. Pride also results from a high opinion of one’s self and worth. It often manifests itself as snobbery among peers or acquaintances. With pride, the movement of attention is inward in contrast to vainglory.

In Christian teachings, pride is one of the seven cardinal sins. Among the seven sins, pride is the first, the highest, and the most serious. It is also considered as the original sin where all other sins draw from. Pride is further classified as a spiritual sin which can be counteracted only by the virtue of humility (as introduced and devised by Prudentius). In Christian tradition, the sin of pride is associated with Lucifer, the angel that rebelled against God and fell from Heaven.

Pride is a result of vainglory. It is often ascribed as coming from the mind.


1. Vainglory and pride are two negative characteristics of people. In Christian tradition, they are both considered as cardinal sins.

2. Both “vainglory” and “pride” are defined as exaggerated forms of narcissism and flattery. They also imply a high level of self-respect, self-esteem, and self-worth compared to other people. The main difference is in the form of expression. Vainglory is an outward (decentralized) form while pride is an inward or centralized direction.

3. Vainglory and pride have a special relationship. Vainglory is the beginning of pride and pride is the result of vainglory.

4. Vainglory can also be simply defined as “what other people think of a person” while pride can be summarized as “what a person thinks of himself.”

5. Vainglory is a characteristic that comes from the heart as desire while pride is an attitude that comes from the mind as a way of thinking or mindset.

6. In Christian teachings, both vainglory and pride are considered as cardinal sins. However, vainglory isn’t part of the original seven deadly sins model prescribed by the Medieval Church. This exclusion makes no counterpart virtue for vainglory. On the other hand, pride has a prominent role as the most serious and first deadly sin. Its counterpart virtue is humility.

7. In addition, pride is also classified as a spiritual sin in the Christian teaching. Pride is personified by the famous, fallen angel Lucifer.

8. ”Vainglory” is an archaic term, meaning it is not used anymore in modern times. The modern equivalent of “vainglory” is “vanity.” As a term, “vainglory” is less used compared to “vanity” and “pride.”

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  1. Reasonably useful article describing the difference between Vainglory and Pride. However, I think it incorrect to assert that Vainglory is the beginning of Pride, and Pride is the result of Vainglory. Rather, they are 2 different things, that sometimes result in the same sour, bitter fruit.
    Pride will typically be instilled in an individual by others, especially one’s parents. It does not start with Vainglory.
    Vainglory, on the other hand is driven by the natural human need for praise. The desire for praise is created in humans by God, but that desire is to be satiated by God in private. The world has perverted this God-given desire and humans instead seek to satiate it with the praise (often public) of other humans.
    Either can result in bad fruit such as snobbery, though typically snobbery is more the result of Vainglory than Pride.

  2. I’m battling with pride and vain glory. I pray that God help me to overcome it.

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