Vain, Vein, or Vane?

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Vain, Vein, or Vane?

  • "A vein" is a blood vessel or a distinctive style.
  • "Vain" means "self admiring" or "futile." (The term "in vain" (as in "to try in vain") means "without success").
  • "A vane" is a stabilizing fin or blade.
vain, vein, or vane?

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

The words "vein," "vain," and "vane" sound identical (i.e., they are homophones), but their meanings are very different.

Click on the Two Correct Sentences
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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


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."

  • 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.


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.

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


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:
  • To try in vain
  • A vain attempt
  • To do something in vain
  • A vain hope
"Vain" (meaning "self-admiring") is often seen in the following terms:
  • A 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? What are nouns? What are verbs? List of easily confused words