vain

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in vain

for no purpose; [done] as a failure. They rushed her to the hospital, but they did it in vain. We tried in vain to get her there on time.
See also: vain

*proud as a peacock

 and *vain as a peacock
overly proud; vain. (*Also: as ~.) Mike's been strutting around proud as a peacock since he won that award. I sometimes think Elizabeth must spend all day admiring herself in a mirror. She's as vain as a peacock.
See also: proud

in vain

1. without success Melissa shifted about, trying in vain to find a comfortable position. Government agents tried in vain to kidnap him.
2. without any useful result Clegg said Friday's military operation went well, and that these soldiers did not die in vain. The president himself must make the argument, or all our work will be in vain.
See also: vain

take somebody's name in vain

  (humorous)
to say someone's name when they are not there, usually when you are criticizing them Did I hear someone taking my name in vain?
See also: name, take, vain

in vain

To no avail, useless, as in All our work was in vain. [c. 1300] Also see take someone's name in vain.
See also: vain

proud as a peacock

Having a very high opinion of oneself, filled with or showing excessive self-esteem. For example, She strutted about in her new outfit, proud as a peacock. This simile alludes to the male peacock, with its colorful tail that can be expanded like a fan, which has long symbolized vanity and pride. Chaucer used it in The Reeve's Tail: "As any peacock he was proud and gay." [1200s]
See also: proud

take someone's name in vain

Speak casually or idly of someone, as in There he goes, taking my name in vain again. This idiom originated as a translation from the Latin of the Vulgate Bible (Exodus 20:7), "to take God's name in vain," and for a time was used only to denote blasphemy and profanity. In the early 1700s it began to be used more loosely as well.
See also: name, take, vain

in vain

1. To no avail; without success: Our labor was in vain.
2. In an irreverent or disrespectful manner: took the Lord's name in vain.
See also: vain
References in periodicals archive ?
Lip service is such a deception not only to the person who vainly volunteers, but also to those who have to pick up the pieces of their neglect of duty.
The artist was seen vainly trying to grab on to a rope to stop the inflatable taking off.
Manila: A man enraged over his gay lover's alleged infidelity cut off the latter's organ before vainly trying to flush it down the toilet.
Alex Fisher side-footed home unmarked for the opener on three minutes and then Danny Spencer doubled the lead as Rovers vainly appealed for offside a minute later.
Until that is done we are spinning our wheels, vainly attempting to create a strong foundation in the shifting sands of corruption, meanwhile sacrificing the lives of American soldiers and civilian contractors.
Old pro Danson manages to make pompous yet pathetic Bill an engaging presence (he has a nice moment of physical comedy in tonight's episode when he attempts vainly to maim his SUV), and his cast provides competent support.
A young friend of mine who is vainly attempting to maintain a long-distance relationship via low-cost instant messaging offered this example:
Albin: "The majority divines that standard by unnecessarily and vainly searching for a legislative intent when, apparently, the Legislature did not give a second thought to the subject.
In Sometimes in April Debra Winger is the State Department official who vainly struggles to convince the Clinton White House to come to the rescue, and in Hotel Rwanda Nick Nolte is the U.
Wearing red war paint around his eyes but vainly trying to convince us he's bleeding, the motormouth Cute is the definite leader of the trio.
Van DeBurg notes that the Kerner Commission, back in the '60s, after investigating the root causes of the black riots of the day, hoped to forestall more trouble to come by calling, vainly, for new white attitudes and a new will.
Richard Hinds was given a straight red for serious foul play in the last minute as Scunthorpe searched vainly for an equaliser.
As Confederates tried vainly to delay Union advances on Chancellorsville, General "Stonewall" Jackson took a bullet in the arm, which ultimately had to be amputated.
His exemplary new Christian life--he was the first Westerner commemorated for asceticism--caused his elevation to the see by popular demand, which he vainly resisted not least because he felt bound to live apart from his wife in perpetual continence.
Down through the ages, people have vainly sought answers to the most impenetrable mysteries of human existence.