vain
adjective Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French, empty, futile, from Latin vanus — more at wane Date: 14th century 1. having no real value ; idle, worthless <
vain pretensions
>
2. marked by futility or ineffectualness ; unsuccessful, useless <
vain efforts to escape
>
3. archaic foolish, silly 4. having or showing undue or excessive pride in one's appearance or achievements ; conceited Synonyms: see futilevainly adverbvainness noun Synonyms: vain, nugatory, otiose, idle, empty, hollow mean being without worth or significance. vain implies either absolute or relative absence of value <
vain promises
>
. nugatory suggests triviality or insignificance <
a monarch with nugatory powers
>
. otiose suggests that something serves no purpose and is either an encumbrance or a superfluity <
a film without a single otiose scene
>
. idle suggests being incapable of worthwhile use or effect <
idle speculations
>
. empty and hollow suggest a deceiving lack of real substance or soundness or genuineness <
an empty attempt at reconciliation
>
<
a hollow victory
>
.

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.

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 — [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

  • vain — 1 Vain, nugatory, otiose, idle, empty, hollow are comparable when they mean devoid of worth or significance. Something vain (see also FUTILE) is devoid of all value, either absolutely because worthless, superfluous, or unprofitable or relatively… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

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