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 vainly
Truth be told, the hope of destroying the rubes by ignoring them vainly ignores the most inescapable fact of our lives.From Smarm To Snark, We’re All Soldiers In The War On Obscurity|James Poulos|December 7, 2013|DAILY BEAST
The old bulls sensed the cnunbling of their position and vainly tried to placate the reformers.Memo: The Aaron Sorkin Model of Political Discourse Doesn't Actually Work|Megan McArdle|April 23, 2013|DAILY BEAST
As Hudson vainly tried to save Lopez, the Honda roared away on just the wheel rims.Cop Who Protected Obama, Romney, at Debate Latest Victim of Illegal Guns|Michael Daly|October 25, 2012|DAILY BEAST
Can we justify manicures and tasteful highlights when others are vainly looking for work?
Before Jean could answer, the policeman stretched out his hand and touched the young woman, who had been vainly trying to get out.Mrs. Dorriman, Volume 2 of 3|Julie Bosville Chetwynd
Vainly should I undertake to paint my emotion on this action of his!History of Friedrich II. of Prussia, Vol. XXI. (of XXI.)|Thomas Carlyle
I vainly try to get down upon paper the dreariness, the ugliness, shabbiness, un-home-likeness of a Roman street.Passages From the French and Italian Notebooks, Volume 1|Nathaniel Hawthorne
He had vainly tried the whimsical experiment of judging of the contents by the sense of touch.Poppea of the Post-Office|Mabel Osgood Wright
Let it not be vainly imagined, that our state of civilization must prevent the moral degeneracy here threatened.
- 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.