Synonyms & Antonyms of vain

1 having too high an opinion of oneself
  • a man so vain that he spent hours admiring himself in the mirror

Synonyms for vain

Words Related to vain

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Antonyms for vain

3 having no usefulness
  • having tired of the vain pleasures of life in the fast lane, he returned to the small town he had grown up in

Synonyms for vain

Words Related to vain

Near Antonyms for vain

Antonyms for vain

See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About vain

How is the word vain distinct from other similar adjectives?

Some common synonyms of vain are empty, hollow, idle, nugatory, and otiose. While all these words mean "being without worth or significance," vain implies either absolute or relative absence of value.

vain promises

How are the words empty and hollow related as synonyms of vain?

Both empty and hollow suggest a deceiving lack of real substance or soundness or genuineness.

an empty attempt at reconciliation

a hollow victory

When is it sensible to use idle instead of vain?

The synonyms idle and vain are sometimes interchangeable, but idle suggests being incapable of worthwhile use or effect.

idle speculations

When would nugatory be a good substitute for vain?

In some situations, the words nugatory and vain are roughly equivalent. However, nugatory suggests triviality or insignificance.

a monarch with nugatory powers

In what contexts can otiose take the place of vain?

The words otiose and vain can be used in similar contexts, but otiose suggests that something serves no purpose and is either an encumbrance or a superfluity.

a film without a single otiose scene

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Time Traveler for vain

Time Traveler

The first known use of vain was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Vain.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on vain

Nglish: Translation of vain for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of vain for Arabic Speakers


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