SYNONYMS | WORD ORIGIN | IDIOMS 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, 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 Related forms vain·ly, adverb vain·ness, noun un·vain, adjective un·vain·ly, adverb un·vain·ness, noun
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
British Dictionary definitions for unvain 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 to use the name of someone, esp God, without due respect or reverence jocular to mention someone's name Derived Forms vainly, adverb vainness, noun Word Origin for vain
C13: via Old French from Latin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
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Word Origin and History for unvain adj.
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.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Idioms and Phrases with unvain
see in vain; take someone's name in vain.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
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