A neighbor tried in vain to stanch the bleeding with a towel.
Photography is always a way to preserve, [a vain] attempt to keep your subjects alive, both in their youth and grace or elderness.
“In vain we fight for improving the court system,” Gannushkina said with emotion.
Randi said that all the prayers had not been vain, for they “helped send Tommy to a better place.”
After they said no, he claims he tried in vain to develop his own placebos.
vain postulate it often seems, yet of all life Brown demanded it.
“Oh, yes,” said the vain ogre; and he changed himself into a little mouse.
In vain I tried to lift my rifle and have one shot for my life.
The Spaniard would look in vain in that spot for his intended victim.
In vain Anthony lifted her tea-cup and the muffin-plate to her for consolation.
c.1300, "devoid of real value, idle, unprofitable," from Old French vein "worthless," from Latin vanus "idle, empty," from PIE *wa-no-, from root *eue- "to leave, abandon, give out" (cf. Old English wanian "to lessen," wan "deficient;" Old Norse vanta "to lack;" Latin vacare "to be empty," vastus "empty, waste;" Avestan va- "lack," Persian vang "empty, poor;" Sanskrit una- "deficient"). Meaning "conceited" first recorded 1690s, from earlier sense of "silly, idle, foolish" (late 14c.). Phrase in vain "to no effect" (c.1300, after Latin in vanum) preserves the original sense. Related: Vainly.