vain

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(as) vain as a peacock

Excessively proud of one's appearance, possessions, or accomplishments, to the point of arrogance or boastfulness. Tom's been as vain as a peacock ever since he found out he came in top of the class—he hasn't missed a single opportunity to remind us. He looks like vain as a peacock strutting around the club in his expensive suit and gold chains.
See also: peacock, 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

Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain

A mnemonic device for the names and sequence of the colors of the rainbow: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet. A: "Dang it, I always forget about indigo and violet when I try to think of the colors of the rainbow." B: "Just remember the phrase, Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain!"
See also: battle, gave, of, Richard, vain, York

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.

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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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
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

in ˈvain

without success: They tried in vain to persuade her to go.All our efforts were in vain.
See also: vain
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

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
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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, to
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
Palace equalised when Morrison strolled in to tap in Zhiyi's cross while United appealed vainly for offside.
According to Sax, some onlookers vainly hope the MDP issue is a problem only for tax lawyers and not for the entire legal profession.
But we have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and have vainly imagined that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.
Instead of vainly searching your FM dial, try logging on to Zero 24-7, the world's first green and commercial-free global web radio station.
Belgium and the Netherlands are knocking vainly at the door, and indeed their Defence Ministers complained to the WEU Council over this intolerable situation.
Onstage percussionists try vainly to generate excitement with enthusiastic pounding, but their drums can't muster the necessary volume.
In the midst of this maelstrom of desire, repression and unremitting light, these tormented characters struggle vainly against harsh, absurd forces beyond their control.
Everyone who followed was lost vainly trying to sustain what gets lost no matter how much you listen.
Breton is "a man vainly seeking to recapture the muse, beset by outside distraction and his own diminished creativity." He "seldom [leaves] the house, no longer able to join the others for an aperitif." He longs for and fears his death (especially after he sees the ends of early apostles).
A similar theme runs through Fugls fode (1957; "Bird Pickings"; The Imposter), but in this novel reality is perceived exclusively through the consciousness of the main character, a nihilistic writer who vainly attempts to create something "real" with his literature.
England under Charles I's minister, George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham (1592-1628), tried vainly to help, but Buckingham was assassinated in 1628 and La Rochelle was taken.
The boy adds more dirt, vainly attempting to outflank and contain the water.
Marines for the next twenty years, but nationalist Augusto Sandino and his followers continued to resist, as the Marines vainly chased them through the mountains.
The Republicans have lost all claim to long-sought majority status; vainly appealing to the middle class, the Democrats have disempowered traditional constituencies and destroyed their own progressive remnant.
The Tree their own hands had to Liberty rear'd; They liv'd to behold growing strong and rever'd; With transport they cry'd, "Now our wishes we gain For our children shall gather the fruits of our pain." Swarms of placemen and pensioners soon will appear Like locusts deforming the charms of the year; Suns vainly will rise, Showers vainly descend, If we are to drudge for what others shall spend.