in vain

EnglishEdit

EtymologyEdit

(This etymology is missing or incomplete. Please add to it, or discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium. Particularly: “Anglo-Norman en vain?”)

PronunciationEdit

  • (file)

AdverbEdit

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, Dedicatory Remarks (Gettysburg Address)‎[1], near Soldiers' National Cemetery, LCCN n94107481, Bliss copy, page 2:
      [] that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain []
    • 19th c., 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.
    • 1960 March, J. P. Wilson & E. N. C. Haywood, “The route through the Peak: Derby to Manchester. Part One”, in Trains Illustrated, page 149:
      All these great plans were in vain, however, for in the cold dawn following the "Mania" years of 1845–46 the M.B.M. & M.J.R. project was truncated to an 11+12-mile line from Ambergate to Rowsley.
  2. (idiomatic) In a disrespectful manner, without honoring the proper meaning; insincerely or without proper respect.
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, [] (King James Version), London: [] Robert Barker, [], OCLC 964384981, Exodus 20:7, column 2:
      Thou ſhalt not take the Name of the Lord thy God in vaine: []
    • 1817, Sir Walter Scott, Rob Roy, published 2015, page 4:
      Methinks I see him even now in my mind's eye;— the firm and upright figure,— the step, quick and determined, — the eye, which shot so keen and so penetrating a glance,— the features on which care had already planted wrinkles, and hear his language, in which he never wasted word in vain, expressed in a voice which had sometimes an occasional harshness, far from the intention of the speaker.
    • 2013, Mandy Merck, The Sexual Subject: Screen Reader in Sexuality:
      A fetishist regime attempts to annul the separation of image and spectator, to reinstall an immediate relation that promises (in vain) to provide satisfaction to desire itself.
    • 2015, Kent Gramm, The Prayer of Jesus: A Reading of the Lord’s Prayer, page 69:
      This petition is the reverse side of the commandment against taking God's name in vain.
    • 2015, Jimmy R. Watson, Big Jesus: A Pastor’s Struggle with Christology, page 119:
      McLaren's task, it seems, is to set Jesus in a more appropriate and biblical context so that we won't use his name “in vain.”
    • 2016, Alexandre Dumas, Frank J. Morlock, transl., The Count of Monte Cristo, Part IV (play), page 247:
      That's fine. I know you won't engage your word in vain.

SynonymsEdit

Related termsEdit

TranslationsEdit

AdjectiveEdit

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

  1. (idiomatic) Unsuccessful, failed.
    Their efforts were in vain and he succumbed to his injuries.
    • 2012, N.H. Pijls, Maximal Myocardial Perfusion as a Measure of the Functional Significance of Coronary Artery Disease[2]:
      The problems concerning contrast induced hyperemia and the in vain efforts to search for a contrast agent not influencing flow []

ReferencesEdit

  • in vain at OneLook Dictionary Search