in vain

Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Idioms, Encyclopedia.


adj. vain·er, vain·est
1. Not yielding the desired outcome; fruitless: a vain attempt.
2. Lacking substance or worth: vain talk.
3. Having or showing excessive pride in one's appearance or accomplishments; conceited.
4. Archaic Foolish.
in vain
1. To no avail; without success: Our labor was in vain.
2. In an irreverent or disrespectful manner: took the Lord's name in vain.

[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin vānus, empty; see euə- in Indo-European roots.]

vain′ly adv.
vain′ness n.
Synonyms: vain, empty, hollow, idle, otiose
These adjectives mean lacking value or substance: vain regrets; empty pleasures; hollow threats; idle dreams; otiose theoretical discussions. See Also Synonyms at futile.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend: vain - to no avail; "he looked for her in vain"; "the city fathers tried vainly to find a solution"
بِدون جَدْوى
en baldeen vano
árangurslausttil einskisunnið fyrir gýgárangurslaus
in cassum
boş yereboşuna


(vein) adjective
1. having too much pride in one's appearance, achievements etc; conceited. She's very vain about her good looks.
2. unsuccessful. He made a vain attempt to reach the drowning woman.
3. empty; meaningless. vain threats; vain promises.
ˈvainly adverb
unsuccessfully. He searched vainly for the treasure.
vanity (ˈvӕnəti) noun
1. excessive admiration of oneself; conceit. Vanity is her chief fault.
2. worthlessness or pointlessness. the vanity of human ambition.
in vain
with no success. He tried in vain to open the locked door.
References in classic literature ?
If I have exposed myself to it, in vain, let it be so; but if you and he should ever meet again, do me justice.
Trying to collect uncollectable debts in vain or throwing 3.
He recalled that he had told all the senators before the start of the briefing, but all went in vain as all senators shared this with the media.
According to TC, power-tripping IC made AL wait in vain, reneging on a promise.