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. You can also discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium.
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.
    • 1956 [1880], Johanna Spyri, Heidi, translation of original by Eileen Hall, page 46:
      For some time Grannie tried in vain to comfort her.
  2. (idiomatic) In a disrespectful manner, especially when concerning religion.



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

  1. (idiomatic) Unsuccessful, failed.