Vain (?), a. [Compar.
Vainer (?); superl. Vainest.] [F.
vain, L. vanus empty, void, vain. Cf. Vanish,
Vanity, Vaunt to boast.]
1. Having no real substance, value, or importance;
empty; void; worthless; unsatisfying. "Thy vain excuse."
Every man walketh in a vain show. Ps.
Let no man deceive you with vain words.
Eph. v. 6.
Vain pomp, and glory of this world, I hate
Vain visdom all, and false philosophy.
2. Destitute of forge or efficacy; effecting no
purpose; fruitless; ineffectual; as, vain toil; a vain
Bring no more vain oblations. Isa. i.
Vain is the force of man
To crush the pillars which the pile sustain.
3. Proud of petty things, or of trifling
attainments; having a high opinion of one's own accomplishments with slight
reason; conceited; puffed up; inflated.
But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith apart from
works is barren? James ii. 20 (Rev. Ver.).
The minstrels played on every side, Dryden.
Vain of their art.
4. Showy; ostentatious.
Load some vain church with old theatric
Syn. -- Empty; worthless; fruitless; ineffectual; idle; unreal;
shadowy; showy; ostentatious; light; inconstant; deceitful; delusive;
Vain, n. Vanity; emptiness; -- now used
only in the phrase in vain.
For vain. See In vain. [Obs.]
Shak. -- In vain, to no purpose; without
effect; ineffectually. " In vain doth valor bleed."
Milton. " In vain they do worship me." Matt. xv. 9. --
To take the name of God in vain, to use the name of
God with levity or profaneness.