vain(redirected from vainness)
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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.
*proud as a peacockand *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
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.
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?
To no avail, useless, as in All our work was in vain. [c. 1300] Also see take someone's name in 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.
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.