vain


vain
[[t]ve͟ɪn[/t]]
vainer, vainest
1) ADJ: ADJ n A vain attempt or action is one that fails to achieve what was intended.

The drafting committee worked through the night in a vain attempt to finish on schedule...

I was singing in a vain effort to cheer him up.

Syn:
Derived words:
vainly ADV ADV with v

He hunted vainly through his pockets for a piece of paper.

2) ADJ: ADJ n If you describe a hope that something will happen as a vain hope, you mean that there is no chance of it happening.

He married his fourth wife, Susan, in the vain hope that she would improve his health.

Derived words:
vainly ADV ADV with v

He then set out for Virginia for what he vainly hoped would be a peaceful retirement.

3) ADJ-GRADED (disapproval) If you describe someone as vain, you are critical of their extreme pride in their own beauty, intelligence, or other good qualities.

I think he is shallow, vain and untrustworthy.

Syn:
4) PHRASE: PHR after v, v-link PHR If you do something in vain, you do not succeed in achieving what you intend.

He stopped at the door, waiting in vain for her to acknowledge his presence...

It became obvious that all her complaints were in vain.

5) PHRASE: PHR after v, v-link PHR If you say that something such as someone's death, suffering, or effort was in vain, you mean that it was useless because it did not achieve anything.

He wants the world to know his son did not die in vain.


English dictionary. 2008.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • vain — vain …   Dictionnaire des rimes

  • vain — vain, vaine [ vɛ̃, vɛn ] adj. • déb. XIIe; lat. vanus 1 ♦ Vx Vide. « De vains tombeaux » (P. Corneille) :des cénotaphes. Mod. Vaine pâture. 2 ♦ Vieilli Qui est sans consistance, sans réalité. ⇒ irréel. « Nous sommes abusés par de vaines images »… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • vain — vain, aine (vin, vè n ) adj. 1°   Proprement, vide, ce qui est le sens étymologique conservé seulement dans les locutions suivantes : vaine pâture, terres où il n y a ni semences, ni fruits, et, par suite, où tous les habitants d une commune… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • Vain — Vain, a. [Compar. {Vainer}; superl. {Vainest}.] [F. vain, L. vanus empty, void, vain. Cf. {Vanish}, {Vanity}, {Vaunt} to boast.] [1913 Webster] 1. Having no real substance, value, or importance; empty; void; worthless; unsatisfying. Thy vain… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • vain — VAIN, [v]aine. adj. Inutile, Qui ne produit rien. Faire de vains efforts. toutes ses sollicitations ont esté vaines. On appelle, Terres vaines & vagues, Des terres inutiles, incultes, qui ne produisent rien, & qui ne sont reclamées de personne.… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • vain — [veın] adj [Date: 1300 1400; : Old French; Origin: Latin vanus empty, vain ] 1.) someone who is vain is too proud of their good looks, abilities, or position used to show disapproval = ↑conceited ▪ Men can be just as vain as women. see usage note …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • vain — [ veın ] adjective * 1. ) someone who is vain is very proud and thinks they are very attractive or special: CONCEITED: He was vain about his looks, spending hours in the gym. 2. ) unsuccessful or useless: a vain attempt/bid/effort: They made a… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • Vain — Vain, n. Vanity; emptiness; now used only in the phrase in vain. [1913 Webster] {For vain}. See {In vain}. [Obs.] Shak. {In vain}, to no purpose; without effect; ineffectually. In vain doth valor bleed. Milton. In vain they do worship me. Matt.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Vain — Datos generales Nacimiento 1986 Origen San Francisco …   Wikipedia Español

  • vain (en) — ⇒VAIN (EN), loc. adv. A. Sans résultat, sans utilité, pour rien. Synon. inutilement. C est en vain que vous prétendez soumettre les gouvernements à la volonté générale. Ce sont toujours eux qui dictent cette volonté, et toutes les précautions… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • vain — [vān] adj. [OFr < L vanus, empty, vain: see WANT] 1. having no real value or significance; worthless, empty, idle, hollow, etc. [vain pomp] 2. without force or effect; futile, fruitless, unprofitable, unavailing, etc. [a vain endeavor] 3.… …   English World dictionary