Definition of vain
vainnessplay \ˈvān-nəs\ noun
- her efforts were in vain
- you shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain
- —Deuteronomy 5:11 (Revised Standard Version)
She is very vain about her appearance.
He is the vainest man I know.
A vain effort to quell the public's fears only made matters worse.
Volunteers searched the area in the vain hope of finding clues.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'vain.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
First Known Use: 14th centurySee Words from the same year
assured, bigheaded, complacent, conceited, consequential, egoistic (also egoistical), egotistic (or egotistical), important, overweening, pompous, prideful, proud, self-conceited, self-important, self-opinionated, self-satisfied, smug, stuck-up, swellheaded, vainglorious;
arrogant, bumptious, cavalier, chesty, disdainful, haughty, high-and-mighty, high-hat, huffy, lofty, lordly, masterful, pontifical, self-asserting, self-assertive, snobbish, snobby, snooty, supercilious, superior, toplofty (also toploftical), uppish, uppity;
What made you want to look up vain? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).
having a quality expressive of sadness
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