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: 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: 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
References in periodicals archive ?
One of his friends captured the moment on her mobile phone, showing the self-proclaimed 'Britain's vainest man' with yolk running down his face and shell in his hair.
So, Ray, I ask - even though I think I already know the answer - who's the vainest person on Dancing On Ice?
I'm hardly the world's vainest man, it's just that I've been a bit perturbed to receive no less than three emails this week from readers bemoaning my lack of sartorial elegance.
Linda, who lives with her husband Ken in Wallasey, says: ``I have never been the vainest of people but on my birthday this year I decided to make a difference and started looking after myself.
IT is bound to fuel claims that he is Britain's vainest footballer.
Sam, dubbed Britain's vainest man, caused outrage after it was revealed he had received a free nose job on the NHS while five-year-old cancer patient Kelli Smith couldn't Have her treatment paid for.
Meanwhile Noorul is voted the vainest contestant by former students.
The former model, who dated David for a year, said: "David's the vainest person I've ever known.
Tony, who has described himself as the vainest man in Britain, has been starring in reality show Vanity Lair, which puts beautiful people together in a house and makes them vote on one another's attractiveness.
And men are close behind in the vanity stakes, checking out their appearance as often as 66 times a day, compared to an astonishing 71 times for the nation's vainest women.
Despite research that last week revealed British men were the vainest in Europe, many are flummoxed in the fashion stakes once the sun is out
The 22-year-old, dubbed Britain's vainest man, caused outrage after it was revealed he had received a free nose job on the NHS while five-yearold cancer victim Kelli Smith was told she couldn't have her treatment paid for.
The 18-year-old, who has been dubbed the vainest man in Britain, is alleged to have made negative comments while appearing in Channel 4's Vanity Lair programme.