- excessively proud of or concerned about one's own appearance, qualities, achievements, etc.; conceited: a vain dandy.
- proceeding from or showing pride in or concern about one's appearance, qualities, etc.; resulting from or displaying vanity: He made some vain remarks about his accomplishments.
- ineffectual or unsuccessful; futile: vain hopes; a vain effort; a vain war.
- without real significance, value, or importance; baseless or worthless: vain pageantry; vain display.
- Archaic. senseless or foolish.
- in vain,
- without effect or avail; to no purpose: lives lost in vain; to apologize in vain.
- in an improper or irreverent manner: to take God's name in vain.
Origin of vain
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for vainest
Milwaukee came in among the top 40 vainest cities in the country, while Pittsburgh ranked half as vain.Pittsburgh vs. Green Bay: Which City's Better?
The Daily Beast
February 3, 2011
No, but the girl does; she's the haughtiest and the vainest damsel in the province.That Boy Of Norcott's
Charles James Lever
He was here in 1835, when he thought the American people were the vainest in the world of their country.Captains of Industry
And the Germans, the vainest race in Europe, rose like catfish to the bait.Old Fogy
The Fender told me one night I was the vainest creature he ever knew.Andiron Tales
John Kendrick Bangs
I used to be so pleased with being myself—I was the vainest creature that ever lived.Rita
Laura E. Richards
- inordinately proud of one's appearance, possessions, or achievements
- given to ostentatious display, esp of one's beauty
- senseless or futile
- in vain to no avail; fruitlessly
- take someone's name in vain
- to use the name of someone, esp God, without due respect or reverence
- jocularto mention someone's name
Word Origin and History for vainest
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.