be at pains

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be at pains

To put forth effort toward some goal or end. Annabelle is at pains to make sure her relatives are comfortable when they come to visit. So far, she's cleaned the whole house and set up all the guest rooms.
See also: pain
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

at pains, be at

Also, take pains. Make a special effort or take extra trouble to do something. For example, Bob was at pains to make a good first impression and wore his best suit, or Mary took pains to make sure her speech would interest the audience. [First half of 1500s]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

be at (great) pains to do something

put a lot of effort into doing something correctly: The manager was at great pains to point out that no one would lose their job after reorganization.She was at pains to make us feel welcome in her home.
See also: pain, something, to
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in periodicals archive ?
I am at pains to explain to my son that he will not be able to sire children in the future," said an emotional Akinyi.
Trust me, I am at pains to understand the thinking of this selection committee and the parameters that they are using for selecting national squads.".
While I am at pains to dodge the tourist traps, I was reminded recently that it pays to keep exploring the city, and that it is easy to become blase about the architectural wonders tucked around Victorian corners.
The way the two strands of narratives entwine is skilfully and sensitively done and I am at pains here not to spoil the reader's pleasure by divulging too much of what follows.
I am at pains to say her letter will lead to increase the gulf between locals and other communities living in peace and harmony.
I was and am at pains to say that Dan Smith was guilty of wrong-doing, but it is my contention that he was not guilty of the crime for which he was imprisoned.
"It may feel like it when you get beaten but I am at pains to point out it is not."
In order to sustain this Pollyanna caricature, Palattella cuts from my discussion of Owen and Jarrell any hint of the real conflicts and unresolved tensions about war and bloodshed that I am at pains to show.