vain (comparative vainer, superlative vainest)
- Overly proud of oneself, especially concerning appearance; having a high opinion of one's own accomplishments with slight reason.
- Every writer is a narcissist. This does not mean that he is vain; it only means that he is hopelessly self-absorbed.
- Having no real substance, value, or importance; empty; void; worthless; unsatisfying.
- c. 1590–1591, William Shakespeare, “The Two Gentlemen of Verona”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act III, scene i]:
- I will not hear thy vain excuse
- Bible, Epistle to the Ephesians v. 6
- Let no man deceive you with vain words.
- 1667, John Milton, “Book 2”, in Paradise Lost. A Poem Written in Ten Books, London: Printed [by Samuel Simmons], and are to be sold by Peter Parker […] [a]nd by Robert Boulter […] [a]nd Matthias Walker, […], OCLC 228722708 ↗; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: The Text Exactly Reproduced from the First Edition of 1667: […], London: Basil Montagu Pickering […], 1873, OCLC 230729554 ↗:
- Vain wisdom all, and false philosophy.
- Effecting no purpose; pointless, futile.
- vain toil; a vain attempt
- Vain is the force of man / To crush the pillars which the pile sustain.
- It is vain to do with more what can be done with fewer.
- Showy; ostentatious.
- 1731, Alexander Pope, Epistle to Burlington:
- Load some vain church with old theatric state.
- (overly proud of oneself) conceited; puffed up; inflated
- (pointless) pointless, futile, fruitless, ineffectual
- See also Thesaurus:arrogant
- See also Thesaurus:futile
- German: eitel
- Italian: vanitoso, vanesio
- Portuguese: vaidoso, vão
- Russian: тщесла́вный
- Spanish: vanidoso
- French: vain, futile
- German: unnützlich
- Italian: vano
- Portuguese: vão
- Russian: тще́тный
- Spanish: vano, vacuo
vain (plural vains)