[ veyn ]
/ veɪn /
adjective, vain·er, vain·est.
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.
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- 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
1250–1300; Middle English < Old French < Latin vānus empty, vain
SYNONYMS FOR vain
vain·ly, adverbvain·ness, nounun·vain, adjectiveun·vain·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
British Dictionary definitions for in vain
/ (veɪn) /
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
- jocular to mention someone's name
Derived Formsvainly, adverbvainness, noun
Word Origin for vain
C13: via Old French from Latin vānus
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Idioms and Phrases with in vain (1 of 2)
To no avail, useless, as in All our work was in vain. [c. 1300] Also see take someone's name in vain.
Idioms and Phrases with in vain (2 of 2)
see in vain; take someone's name in vain.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.