take (one's) name in vain

take (one's) name in vain

To speak about someone when they are not present, as in a critical manner. The phrase comes from one of the Ten Commandments, which prohibits taking God's name in vain. Hey, I heard that! Don't take my name in vain!
See also: name, take, vain
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
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.

take someone's name in vain

1. If someone takes God's name in vain, they say `God' in an expression that is disrespectful, often when they are swearing. He did his best with us, always gently correcting us when we took the Lord's name in vain.
2. If someone takes another person's name in vain they say their name in a way that is disrespectful. `Somebody taking my name in vain?' Nordhoff called over his shoulder. Note: This is from the second of the Ten Commandments in the Bible: `Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.' (Exodus 20:7)
See also: name, take, vain
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

take someone's name in vain

use someone's name in a way that shows a lack of respect.
The third of the biblical Ten Commandments is: ‘Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain’ (Exodus 20:7).
See also: name, take, vain
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

take somebody’s name in ˈvain

show a lack of respect when using somebody’s name: I get very upset when people take God’s name in vain. ♢ (humorous) Have you been taking my name in vain again?This expression comes from the Bible.
See also: name, take, vain
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

take one's name in vain, to

To mention a person casually and disrespectfully. This expression, today always used jocularly, comes from the biblical commandment against blasphemy: “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain” (Exodus 20:7). It was already used more lightly in the eighteenth century, when Jonathan Swift included it in Polite Conversation (1738): “Who’s that takes my name in vain?”
See also: name, take, to
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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