vain

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See also: väin

English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English, from Old French vain, from Latin vānus (empty)

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

vain (comparative vainer or more vain, superlative vainest or most vain)

  1. Overly proud of oneself, especially concerning appearance; having a high opinion of one's own accomplishments with slight reason.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Leo Rosten
      Every writer is a narcissist. This does not mean that he is vain; it only means that he is hopelessly self-absorbed.
  2. Having no real substance, value, or importance; empty; void; worthless; unsatisfying.
  3. Effecting no purpose; pointless, futile.
    vain toil;  a vain attempt
    • John Dryden (1631-1700)
      Vain is the force of man / To crush the pillars which the pile sustain.
    • (Can we date this quote?) William of Occam
      It is vain to do with more what can be done with fewer.
    • 1922, Ben Travers, chapter 6, A Cuckoo in the Nest:
      But Sophia's mother was not the woman to brook defiance. After a few moments' vain remonstrance her husband complied. His manner and appearance were suggestive of a satiated sea-lion.
  4. Showy; ostentatious.
    • Alexander Pope (1688-1744)
      Load some vain church with old theatric state.

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Finnish[edit]

Adverb[edit]

vain

  1. only, merely, exclusively, solely, just
  2. ever, in the phrasal adjective mikä vain
  3. whenever, in the phrasal adjective milloin vain

Usage notes[edit]

In many dialects, this word has transformed to vaan.

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French[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Old French vain, from Latin vānus.

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

vain m (feminine vaine, masculine plural vains, feminine plural vaines)

  1. useless, ineffective, fruitless
  2. vain, shallow

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Jèrriais[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Old French vain, from Latin vānus (empty).

Adjective[edit]

vain m (feminine vaine, masculine plural vains, feminine plural vaines)

  1. vain

Derived terms[edit]