vain

[ 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.

Idioms

    in vain,
    1. without effect or avail; to no purpose: lives lost in vain; to apologize in vain.
    2. 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
Related forms
Can be confusedvain vane vein
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for in vain

vain

/ (veɪn) /

adjective

inordinately proud of one's appearance, possessions, or achievements
given to ostentatious display, esp of one's beauty
worthless
senseless or futile

noun

in vain to no avail; fruitlessly
take someone's name in vain
  1. to use the name of someone, esp God, without due respect or reverence
  2. 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)

in vain


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)

vain


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.