Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adv. In a vain manner; to no avail.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adv. In a vain manner; in vain.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • In a vain manner.
  • In an inflated or conceited manner; proudly; arrogantly: as, to strut about vainly.
  • Idly; foolishly; unreasonably; hence, erroneously; falsely.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adv. to no avail

Etymologies

vain +‎ -ly (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • While the woman goggled at me, her brain vainly attempting to take precious processing cycles away from analyzing reality TV to comprehend what had just been said to her, I stepped around her, handed my jar of salsa to the cashier, and completed my purchase.

    The Weather's Fine, Wish They Weren't Here

  • 'I must insist,' he called vainly after the doctor, who prudently circled about the house and waited a quarter of an hour as he sat upon the wall, eavesdropping on the conversation of the two young people.

    Captain Corelli's Mandolin

  • Never before was such lightning and thunder of artillery heard, most of which, notwithstanding, went vainly from the Spanish, flying clear over the

    In Doublet and Hose A Story for Girls

  • It was plain that he had been misled for once, that what he suspected had not come to pass, and that he must seek elsewhere the light which had gleamed upon him vainly from the Danish town.

    Mary Anerley : a Yorkshire Tale

  • Catholic, a name vainly usurped by the Romanists, ii.

    Sermons Preached Upon Several Occasions. Vol. IV.

  • Orlando, utterly unable to answer this raillery, now wished her once more health and happiness; and said (again vainly attempting to appear unconcerned) – 'I really do not love to contradict ladies, my dear Mrs Lennard! so you must have your own way, however your suspicions may wrong me.'

    The Old Manor House

  • For those who are clicking from FiveThirtyEight to Politico to Drudge and back again vainly searching for fresh information on Tuesday’s elections, there’s good news: Web sites like Twitter and YouTube are providing real-time updates from the polls, voter by voter.

    Taking the Digital Pulse of Voters, One at a Time - Bits Blog - NYTimes.com

  • Narby was in full flight, with Hugh and Ertz calling vainly after him.

    Destiny Narrowly Avoided

  • A shouting match ensued, with Eckert and Abul Hadi calling vainly for calm and fair play while Aunt Emma moaned and Thora Scranton watched with clinical fascination.

    Perseus Spur

  • Samantha read the large curlicue lettering aloud, Praises on stones are titles vainly lent.

    Funeral In Berlin

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