Vain a. [Compar. Vainer superl. Vainest.]
1. Having no real substance, value, or importance; empty; void; worthless; unsatisfying. “Thy vain excuse.”
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 wisdom all, and false philosophy. --Milton.
2. Destitute of force 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.
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.
adj 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]
2: unproductive of success; "a fruitless search"; "futile years
after her artistic peak"; "a sleeveless errand"; "a vain
attempt" [syn: bootless, fruitless, futile, sleeveless]