Definitions of vain

  1. unproductive of success; " a fruitless search"; " futile years after her artistic peak"; " a sleeveless errand"; " a vain attempt"
  2. characteristic of false pride; having an exaggerated sense of self- importance; " a conceited fool"; " an attitude of self- conceited arrogance"; " an egotistical disregard of others"; " so swollen by victory that he was unfit for normal duty"; " growing ever more swollen- headed and arbitrary"; " vain about her clothes"
  3. Showy; ostentatious.
  4. Destitute of forge or efficacy; effecting no purpose; fruitless; ineffectual; as, vain toil; a vain attempt.
  5. Proud of petty things, or of trifling attainments; having a high opinion of one's own accomplishments with slight reason; conceited; puffed up; inflated.
  6. Having no real substance, value, or importance; empty; void; worthless; unsatisfying.
  7. Vanity; emptiness; - now used only in the phrase in vain.
  8. Valueless; empty; trifling; as, vain words; without force or effect useless; as, rain efforts; proud of small accomplishments or of personal appearance; conceited; as, a vain person; showy: in vain, without success.
  9. Vainly.
  10. Vainest.
  11. Unsatisfying: fruitless: unreal: conceited: showy: vacant, worthless, so in B.
  12. Fruitless; ineffectual; conceited; showy.
  13. Empty; unreal; ineffectual; fruitless.
  14. Vainness.
  15. Empty; worthless; having no substance, value or importance; fruitless; ineffectual; proud of trifling attainments; conceited; unreal; ostentatious; inconstant; unsatisfying; deceitful; having no efficacy. In vain, to no purpose; with levity or profaneness.
  16. Proud of trifling attainments; having an unduly high opinion of one's own accomplishments; ineffectual; fruitless, as an effort; unsatisfying.

Usage examples for vain

  1. It was however all in vain. – Christmas Stories by Edward Berens
  2. And if he were to take this situation in the country- Heaven only knew where- she would come to seek him in vain, and would go empty away. – Anthony Lyveden by Dornford Yates
  3. In vain Tommy begged him to come, too. – Frank of Freedom Hill by Samuel A. Derieux
  4. It was a vain hope that, however. – Cleek: the Man of the Forty Faces by Thomas W. Hanshew
  5. In vain she angrily told herself that it only needed common sense. – His Second Wife by Ernest Poole
  6. How vain are men to wish! – Vikram-and-the-Vampire-Classic-Hindu-Tales-of-Adventure-Magic-and-Romance by Burton, Isabel, Lady
  7. Forget this vain dream- return to the army. – Calderon The Courtier A Tale by Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  8. Vain ( L. vanus, empty) keeps the etymological idea through all changes of meaning; a vain endeavor is empty of result, or of adequate power to produce a result, a vain pretension is empty or destitute of support, a vain person has a conceit that is empty or destitute of adequate cause or reason. That which is bootless, fruitless, or profitless fails to accomplish any valuable result; that which is abortive, ineffectual, or unavailing fails to accomplish a result that it was, or was supposed to be, adapted to accomplish. That which is useless, futile, or vain is inherently incapable of accomplishing a specified result. Useless, in the widest sense, signifies not of use for any valuable purpose, and is thus closely similar to valueless and worthless. Fruitless is more final than ineffectual, as applying to the sum or harvest of endeavor. That which is useless lacks actual fitness for a purpose; that which is vain lacks imaginable fitness. Compare VACANT; OSTENTATION; PRIDE. –  by
  9. Expostulations were in vain. – Worldly Ways and Byways by Eliot Gregory
  10. I'm not as vain as a girl. – The Princess Passes by Alice Muriel Williamson and Charles Norris Williamson
  11. She has waited for it in vain. – The George Sand-Gustave Flaubert Letters by George Sand, Gustave Flaubert Translated by A.L. McKensie
  12. If not, his journey was vain. – Round the World in Seven Days by Herbert Strang
  13. And this time not in vain. – Six Feet Four by Jackson Gregory
  14. So abroad with my wife by coach to St. James's, to one Lady Poultny's, where I found my Lord, I doubt, at some vain pleasure or other. – Diary of Samuel Pepys, Complete Transcribed From The Shorthand Manuscript In The Pepysian Library Magdalene College Cambridge By The Rev. Mynors Bright by Samuel Pepys Commentator: Lord Braybrooke
  15. That was all; there it stopped; and vain were all their listenings to catch another note. – Aikenside by Mary J. Holmes
  16. It is in vain,- it is too late. – Zanoni by Edward Bulwer Lytton
  17. But he looked in vain! – Northland Heroes by Florence Holbrook
  18. But it was all vain and foolish. – Four Weird Tales by Algernon Blackwood
  19. The good man tried in vain to make out what was the matter and what had happened. – The Good Comrade by Una L. Silberrad
  20. But search him as they would- it was in vain. – The Bat by Avery Hopwood Mary Roberts Rinehart