adjective, vain·er, vain·est.
- 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
Synonyms for vain
Antonyms for vain
Related Words for in vainunproductive, abortive, ineffectual, ineffective, useless, unsuccessful, pointless, futile, fruitless, worthless, impractical, vain, insufficient, hollow, unprofitable, trivial, barren, empty, exhausted, idle
- to use the name of someone, esp God, without due respect or reverence
- jocularto mention someone's name
Word Origin for vain
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.
To no avail, useless, as in All our work was in vain. [c. 1300] Also see take someone's name in vain.
see in vain; take someone's name in vain.