Meaning of vainly in English:


Pronunciation /ˈveɪnli/

Translate vainly into Spanish


  • 1With an excessively high opinion of one's appearance, abilities, or worth.

    ‘I stared at myself vainly in the mirror’
    • ‘they were vainly looking at old videos of themselves’
    • ‘He vainly affects a George Raft hairdo and would-be virile gestures that go soft before they are half over.’
    • ‘In the 1950s, she was vainly hanging on to her former glamour-girl image.’
    • ‘The ego is a vainly expressed personality.’
    • ‘He spares nothing to obtain the honour of serving them, and he vainly boasts of his own meanness.’
    • ‘The gods are dispassionate, jealous, vainly superior, and sometimes unfair and bitter.’
  • 2In a way that produces no result; to no avail.

    ‘I was vainly trying to get to sleep’
    • ‘she searched vainly for a pulse’
    • ‘He vainly tries to protect an absconding teenager from the police.’
    • ‘She sought any work she could get, including temporary jobs in a clerical pool, while vainly applying for arts fellowships.’
    • ‘After a chance encounter in a cafe ends up in a brief liaison, he tries vainly to track her down.’
    • ‘As Confederates tried vainly to delay Union advances on Chancellorsville, General Jackson took a bullet in the arm.’
    • ‘We vainly debated what we liked most about the Arctic.’
    1. 2.1With no likelihood of fulfilment.
      ‘he vainly hoped to be appointed master’
      • ‘he falls hopelessly and vainly in love with her’
      • ‘She plays the pretty hoyden that Conroy vainly longs for.’
      • ‘I can only vainly aspire to ever possessing a fraction of the skills of Proust or Fitzgerald.’
      • ‘People whose tenor of life is godless often imagine vainly that they will have time to take care of the end when it comes.’
      • ‘You desire vainly that I seek you.’
      • ‘As I was sitting there, seeing senior retreat leaders come in, I vainly prayed you would be one of them.’