EXAMPLES FROM THE WEB FOR VAINLY
"But I'm not miserable, my dear Viviette," said poor Dick, vainly forcing a smile.
Perhaps here she found the repose hitherto so vainly sought.
"My place is by the flag," cried Alleyne, vainly struggling to break from the other's hold.
He was vainly entreated not to expose himself to the infection.
The chair was placed, and Miss Lucindy essayed to climb, but vainly.
The doctors had vainly tried every remedy, iodine, blistering, and cauterising.
Pierre vainly sought a falsehood, and all his composure fled.
But slumber would not come; for hours and hours he vainly sought it.
But Isy too must share in the disappointment of that vainly shining Sunday morning!
Felicite, who remained in the drawing-room, vainly tried to catch what they were saying.
c.1300, "devoid of real value, idle, unprofitable," from Old French vein "worthless," from Latin vanus "idle, empty," from PIE *wa-no-, from root *eue- "to leave, abandon, give out" (cf. Old English wanian "to lessen," wan "deficient;" Old Norse vanta "to lack;" Latin vacare "to be empty," vastus "empty, waste;" Avestan va- "lack," Persian vang "empty, poor;" Sanskrit una- "deficient"). Meaning "conceited" first recorded 1690s, from earlier sense of "silly, idle, foolish" (late 14c.). Phrase in vain "to no effect" (c.1300, after Latin in vanum) preserves the original sense. Related: Vainly.