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
Examples from the Web for vainest
Milwaukee came in among the top 40 vainest cities in the country, while Pittsburgh ranked half as vain.
He affected primitive simplicity, yet was one of the vainest of men.
The vainest of the vain, irritable to madness by their disasters, the Parisians are in no humour to welcome strangers.Diary of the Besieged Resident in Paris|Henry Labouchre
The celebrity of M. de Chateaubriand, the vainest of mortals, was on the wane.
British Dictionary definitions for vainest
- to use the name of someone, esp God, without due respect or reverence
- jocular to mention someone's name
Word Origin for vain
Word Origin and History for vainest
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.
Idioms and Phrases with vainest
see in vain; take someone's name in vain.