be at pains

(redirected from were at pains)

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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