- vain [vān]adj.[OFr < L vanus, empty, vain: see WANT]1. having no real value or significance; worthless, empty, idle, hollow, etc. [vain pomp]2. without force or effect; futile, fruitless, unprofitable, unavailing, etc. [a vain endeavor]3. having or showing an excessively high regard for one's self, looks, possessions, ability, etc.; indulging in or resulting from personal vanity; conceited4. Archaic lacking in sense; foolishSYN.- FUTILE——————in vain1. fruitlessly; vainly2. lightly; profanely; irreverentlyvainnessn.SYN.- VAIN, in this connection, applies to that which has little or no real value, worth, or meaning [vain studies ]; IDLE refers to that which is baseless or worthless because it can never be realized [idle hopes, idle talk ]; EMPTY and HOLLOW are used of that which only appears to be genuine, sincere, worthwhile, etc. [empty threats, hollow pleasures ]; OTIOSE applies to that which has no real purpose or function and is therefore useless or superfluous [otiose remarks ]
English World dictionary. V. Neufeldt. 2014.