To no avail, useless, as in All our work was in vain. [c. 1300] Also see take someone's name in vain.
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Example sentences from the Web for in vain
Asserting our right to free speech is the only to ensure that 12 people did not die in vain.Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Our Duty Is to Keep Charlie Hebdo Alive|Ayaan Hirsi Ali|January 8, 2015|DAILY BEAST
This is a guy who has his son-in-law clean his eyeglasses, for crying out loud.
Her travel clique has been known to arrive at an airport, bags packed, passport-in-hand, within hours of spotting a deal.‘We Out Here’: Inside the New Black Travel Movement|Charlise Ferguson|January 4, 2015|DAILY BEAST
Earl Spencer adds, “Effectively, my great-grandfather sold his children to his father-in-law.”The Real-Life ‘Downton’ Millionairesses Who Changed Britain|Tim Teeman|December 31, 2014|DAILY BEAST
The lack of a gun is not likely to be a major problem for close-in air-to-air dogfights against other jets.New U.S. Stealth Jet Can’t Fire Its Gun Until 2019|Dave Majumdar|December 31, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Vain also was the valour and ability he showed in the campaign against the Royalists in La Vende.Napoleon's Marshals|R. P. Dunn-Pattison
The hopes of a man that is void of understanding are vain and deceitful: and dreams lift up fools.The Bible, Douay-Rheims Version|Various
He went on, ruminating on the vain shadow, into which his over-heated ambition to act and to be distinguished, had involved him.The Pastor's Fire-side Vol. 3 of 4|Jane Porter
Such throats are trying, are they not?In case one catches cold; Ah, yes!
He came back in due time, but bringing nothing for me, and I felt that my appeal had been in vain.The Boarded-Up House|Augusta Huiell Seaman