Vain, Vein, or Vane?

by Craig Shrives

What Is the Difference between "Vain," "Vein," and "Vane"?

"Vain," "vein," and "vane" are easy to confuse because they sound identical (i.e., they are perfect homonyms). However, their meanings are very different.
  • "Vein" is a blood vessel or a distinctive style. For example:
    • Your leg veins are working well.
    • Well done! Continue in the same vein.
  • "Vain" means "self admiring" or "futile."
    • You have a lot of mirrors. You're so vain!
    • I tried in vain to convince her to get back on the horse.
    • (The term "in vain" means "without success.")
  • "Vane" is a stabilizing fin or blade. For example:
    • The weather vane is stuck.
vain, vein, or vane?

More about "Vein," "Vain," and "Vane"

"Vein," "vain," and "vane" are homophone homonyms because they sound the same. They are not homograph homophones because they have different spellings.

Vein

The noun "vein" has four main meanings:

(1) A blood vessel that carries blood from the capillaries towards the heart.


varicose veins

(2) A distinctive style or manner.
  • Mr. Mellor continued in the same vein despite several reprimands.
(3) A layer of ore or mineral between layers of rock.


mineral vein running

(4) The ribs that support an insect's wing.


veins in an insect's wing

Vain

The adjective "vain" means "conceited" or "self admiring." "Vain" can also mean "fruitless." In this meaning, it is often seen as "in vain" meaning "without success" or "in a futile manner."

Example sentences with "vain":
  • Petra is so vain. She spends half her time looking in the mirror.
  • I tried in vain to pull the boat ashore, but it was just too heavy.

Vane

The noun "vane denotes a blade or a fin usually used to stabilize an object in the air or in water. It is most commonly seen in the word weathervane.

Example sentences with "vane":
  • The stabilizing vane has come loose.
  • The steel casing protects the vane from damage in the event that the vessel hits the rocks.

weathervane

Common Terms with the Words "Vain," "Vein," and "Vane"

The word "vain" (meaning "futile" or "producing no result") is often seen in the following terms:
  • try in vain
  • vain attempt
  • do something in vain
  • vain hope
"Vain" (meaning "self-admiring") is often seen in the following terms:
  • vain person
  • You're so vain.
The word "vein" (meaning "the tubes forming part of the blood circulation system") is often seen in the following terms:
  • vein blockage
  • vein bruise
  • vein burst
  • vein collapse
  • vein cream
  • vein graft
  • vein infection
  • vein in leg
  • vein removal
  • vein thrombosis
Common terms with the word "vane":
  • weathervane

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See Also

adverse or averse? affect or effect? appraise or apprise? avenge or revenge? bare or bear? complement or compliment? dependant or dependent? discreet or discrete? disinterested or uninterested? e.g. or i.e.? envy or jealousy? imply or infer? its or it's? material or materiel? poisonous or venomous? practice or practise? principal or principle? tenant or tenet? who's or whose? What are adjectives? The top 20 misspelled words List of easily confused words

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