in vain

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EB1911 - Volume 01 - Page 001 - 1.svg This entry lacks etymological information. If you are familiar with the origin of this term, please add it to the page per etymology instructions.
Particularly: “Anglo-Norman en vain?”


in vain ‎(comparative more in vain, superlative most in vain)

  1. (idiomatic) Without success or a result; ending in failure.
    • 1863 November 19, Abraham Lincoln, The Gettysburg Address, based on the signed "Bliss Copy"
      we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain
    • 19C, Friedrich Nietzsche
      On the mountains of truth you can never climb in vain
  2. (idiomatic) In a disrespectful manner, especially when concerning religion.
    • 1611, Bible (KJV):, Exodus 20:7
      Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain