wordswarm.net: free dictionary lookup
Wordswarms From Years Past

13-Letter Words
12-Letter Words
11-Letter Words
10-Letter Words
9-Letter Words
8-Letter Words
7-Letter Words
6-Letter Words
5-Letter Words
4-Letter Words
3-Letter Words

Adjacent Words

Vague year
vagus nerve

Vain definitions

Webster's 1828 Dictionary

VAIN, a. [L. vanus; Eng. wan, wane, want.]
1. Empty; worthless; having no substance, value or importance. 1 Peter 1.
To your vain answer will you have recourse.
Every man walketh in a vain show. Psalms 39.
Why do the people imagine a vain thing? Psalms 2.
2. Fruitless; ineffectual. All attempts, all efforts were vain.
Vain is the force of man.
3. Proud of petty things, or of trifling attainments; elated with a high opinion of one's own accomplishments, or with things more showy than valuable; conceited.
The minstrels play'd on every side, vain of their art -
4. Empty; unreal; as a vain chimers.
5. Showy; ostentatious.
Load some vain church with old theatric state.
6. Light; inconstant; worthless. Proverbs 12.
7. Empty; unsatisfying. The pleasures of life are vain.
8. False; deceitful; not genuine; spurious. James 1.
9. Not effectual; having no efficacy
Bring no more vain oblations. Isaiah 1.
In vain, to no purpose; without effect; ineffectual.
In vain they do worship me. Matthew 15.
To take the name of God in vain, to use the name of God with levity or profaneness.

WordNet (r) 3.0 (2005)

1: 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" [syn: conceited, egotistic, egotistical, self- conceited, swollen, swollen-headed, vain]
2: unproductive of success; "a fruitless search"; "futile years after her artistic peak"; "a sleeveless errand"; "a vain attempt" [syn: bootless, fruitless, futile, sleeveless, vain]

Merriam Webster's

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 futile vainly adverb vainness 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>.

Oxford Reference Dictionary

adj. 1 excessively proud or conceited, esp. about one's own attributes. 2 empty, trivial, unsubstantial (vain boasts; vain triumphs). 3 useless; followed by no good result (in the vain hope of dissuading them). Phrases and idioms: in vain without result or success (it was in vain that we protested). take a person's name in vain use it lightly or profanely. Derivatives: vainly adv. vainness n. Etymology: ME f. OF f. L vanus empty, without substance

Webster's 1913 Dictionary

Vain Vain, a. [Compar. Vainer; superl. Vainest.] [F. vain, L. vanus empty, void, vain. Cf. Vanish, Vanity, Vaunt to boast.] 1. Having no real substance, value, or importance; empty; void; worthless; unsatisfying. ``Thy vain excuse.'' --Shak. Every man walketh in a vain show. --Ps. xxxix. 6. Let no man deceive you with vain words. --Eph. v. 6. Vain pomp, and glory of this world, I hate ye! --Shak. Vain visdom all, and false philosophy. --Milton. 2. Destitute of forge or efficacy; effecting no purpose; fruitless; ineffectual; as, vain toil; a vain attempt. Bring no more vain oblations. --Isa. i. 13. Vain is the force of man To crush the pillars which the pile sustain. --Dryden. 3. Proud of petty things, or of trifling attainments; having a high opinion of one's own accomplishments with slight reason; conceited; puffed up; inflated. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith apart from works is barren? --James ii. 20 (Rev. Ver.). The minstrels played on every side, Vain of their art. --Dryden. 4. Showy; ostentatious. Load some vain church with old theatric state. --Pope. Syn: Empty; worthless; fruitless; ineffectual; idle; unreal; shadowy; showy; ostentatious; light; inconstant; deceitful; delusive; unimportant; trifling.

Webster's 1913 Dictionary

Vain Vain, n. Vanity; emptiness; -- now used only in the phrase in vain. 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. xv. 9. To take the name of God in vain, to use the name of God with levity or profaneness.

Collin's Cobuild Dictionary

(vainer, vainest) 1. 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... = fruitless ADJ: ADJ n vainly He hunted vainly through his pockets for a piece of paper. ADV: ADV with v 2. 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. ADJ: ADJ n vainly He then set out for Virginia for what he vainly hoped would be a peaceful retirement. ADV: ADV with v 3. 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. ADJ [disapproval] 4. 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... PHRASE: PHR after v, v-link PHR 5. 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. PHRASE: PHR after v, v-link PHR

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

van: The adjective of "vanity," and representing the same Hebrew and Greek words as does the latter, with a few additions (chiefly kenos, "empty," and its compounds in the New Testament). And "vain" can always be replaced by its synonym "empty," often with advantage in modern English (Job 15:2; 1Co 15:14, etc.). The exception is the phrase "in vain," and even there the interchange can be made if some (understood) noun such as "ways" be added. So "to take God's name in vain" (Ex 20:7; De 5:11) means simply to take it for an "empty" ("not good") purpose.

Soule's Dictionary of English Synonyms

a. 1. Unreal, shadowy, unsubstantial, supposititious, dreamy, delusive, deceitful, false, baseless, imaginary, empty, void. 2. Unavailing, useless, bootless, ineffectual, fruitless, profitless, futile, nugatory, abortive, unprofitable, without avail, idle, to no purpose, to no end, ineffectual. 3. Worthless, unsatisfying, unsatisfactory, vapid, unimportant, trivial, unessential, useless. 4. Conceited, vain-glorious, inflated, arrogant, egotistical, overweening, ostentatious, high, self-sufficient, flushed, opinionated, self-satisfied, self-confident, self-admiring, self-opinioned, self-flattering, high-flown, puffed up, wise in one's own conceit. 5. Showy, ostentatious, gaudy, glittering, gorgeous.

Moby Thesaurus

Gascon, abortive, absurd, airy, arrogant, asinine, barren, baseless, boastful, boasting, bootless, bootlessly, braggart, bragging, catchpenny, cocky, complacent, conceited, consequential, counterproductive, coxcombical, dandyish, delusive, delusory, doomed, effete, egocentric, egoistic, egotistical, empty, etiolated, fanfaron, fanfaronading, fatuitous, fatuous, feckless, flimsy, foolish, foppish, foredoomed, fribble, fribbling, frivolous, frothy, fruitless, fruitlessly, futile, futilely, gasconading, groundless, haughty, hollow, idle, ill-founded, improperly, in vain, inadequate, inane, ineffective, ineffectual, inefficacious, inoperative, invalid, light, misleading, narcissan, narcissine, narcissistic, narcistic, nugacious, nugatory, of no force, otiose, overproud, overweening, paltry, petty, pointless, profitless, proud, puny, self-admiring, self-advertising, self-applauding, self-approving, self-assuming, self-complacent, self-conceited, self-congratulating, self-congratulatory, self-content, self-contented, self-delighting, self-endeared, self-esteeming, self-flattering, self-glorious, self-gratulating, self-gratulatory, self-important, self-lauding, self-loving, self-respecting, self-satisfied, self-sufficient, self-vaunting, shallow, silly, slender, slight, smug, sterile, stuck-up, superficial, thrasonic, thrasonical, trifling, trite, trivial, unavailable, unavailing, unbased, unfounded, ungrounded, unproductive, unprofitable, unsuccessful, unsuccessfully, unsupportable, unsupported, unsustainable, unsustained, untenable, unwarranted, useless, vacuous, vainglorious, vainly, valueless, vapid, vaporing, vaunting, void, windy, without basis, without foundation, worthless


wordswarm.net: free dictionary lookup