vain

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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

in vain

1. adjective Without success; futile. I tried to convince the other board members, but my efforts were in vain, and they outvoted me.
2. adverb Without success; futilely. I tried in vain to convince the other board members, and they outvoted me.
See also: vain

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: peacock, proud

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: peacock, 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

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

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

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

in ˈvain

without success: They tried in vain to persuade her to go.All our efforts were in vain.
See also: 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

proud as a peacock

Having an exceedingly high opinion of oneself—one’s dignity or one’s importance. The comparison to a peacock, believed to allude to its strutting gait, dates from the thirteenth century. Chaucer used the simile several times, and it has often been repeated. “The self-applauding bird the peacock” is how William Cowper described it (Truth, 1781).
See also: peacock, proud

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
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LIZ LAMB poses a few questions to the 19-year-old dubbed the vainest man in Britain.
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Mr Barton, aged 22 and from Sutton Coldfield, has earned notoriety as the "vainest man in Britain".
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