adjective, vain·er, vain·est.
- vagus nerve,
- vagus pulse,
- 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
Examples from the Web for vainer
He seemed a man weighed down with vain repinings and vainer regrets.Old Judge Priest|Irvin S. Cobb
She had already wasted too much in vain physical struggling and in vainer emotional outbursts.Heart of the Blue Ridge|Waldron Baily
"Oh, Alfred, no; I only said no vainer," cried Julia in dismay.Hard Cash|Charles Reade
And it were vainer to argue with a hound on a runway, or with the west wind in October, than with me.Cardigan|Robert W. Chambers
And I a vainer fool than one who yearns Clutching at rainbows spanned across the sky!p.My Beautiful Lady. Nelly Dale|Thomas Woolner
- to use the name of someone, esp God, without due respect or reverence
- jocular to 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.
see in vain; take someone's name in vain.