vain


vain

adjective \ˈvān\

: too proud of your own appearance, abilities, achievements, etc.

: having no success : not producing a desired result

Full Definition of VAIN

1
:  having no real value :  idle, worthless <vain pretensions>
2
:  marked by futility or ineffectualness :  unsuccessful, useless <vain efforts to escape>
3
archaic :  foolish, silly
4
:  having or showing undue or excessive pride in one's appearance or achievements :  conceited
vain·ly adverb
vain·ness \ˈvān-nəs\ noun
in vain
1
:  to no end :  without success or result <her efforts were in vain>
2
:  in an irreverent or blasphemous manner <you shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain — Deuteronomy 5:11 (Revised Standard Version)>

Examples of VAIN

  1. She is very vain about her appearance.
  2. He is the vainest man I know.
  3. A vain effort to quell the public's fears only made matters worse.
  4. Volunteers searched the area in the vain hope of finding clues.
  5. For a half a century, scholars have searched in vain for the source of the jade that the early civilizations of the Americas prized above all else and fashioned into precious objects of worship, trade and adornment. —William J. Broad, New York Times, 22 May 2002

Origin of VAIN

Middle English, from Anglo-French, empty, futile, from Latin vanus — more at wane
First Known Use: 14th century

Related to VAIN

Synonym Discussion of VAIN

vain, nugatory, otiose, idle, empty, hollow mean being without worth or significance. vain implies either absolute or relative absence of value <vain promises>. nugatory suggests triviality or insignificance <a monarch with nugatory powers>. otiose suggests that something serves no purpose and is either an encumbrance or a superfluity <a film without a single otiose scene>. idle suggests being incapable of worthwhile use or effect <idle speculations>. empty and hollow suggest a deceiving lack of real substance or soundness or genuineness <an empty attempt at reconciliation> <a hollow victory>.

Browse

Next Word in the Dictionary: vainglorious
Previous Word in the Dictionary: vail
All Words Near: vain

Seen & Heard

What made you want to look up vain? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Get Our Free Apps
Voice Search, Favorites,
Word of the Day, and More
Join Us on FB & Twitter
Get the Word of the Day and More