take in vain


  • WordNet 3.6
    • v take in vain use a name, such as God, without proper respect
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • Take in vain to use with unbecoming levity or profaneness
    • ***


  • Lord Alfred Tennyson
    “Sweet is true love that is given in vain, and sweet is death that takes away pain.”
  • Ambrose Bierce
    “Take not God's name in vain; select a time when it will have effect.”


Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
M. E. taken—Scand.; Ice. taka pa.t. tók, pa.p. tekinn); conn. with L. tangĕre, tetig-i, to touch, and with Eng. tack.


In literature:

The next afternoon Erebus in vain entreated him to take her with him to Tom Cobb's cottage to share the lesson in the art of making snares.
"The Terrible Twins" by Edgar Jepson
Don't you know how wicked it is to take God's name in vain?
"Bert Lloyd's Boyhood" by J. McDonald Oxley
He who takes the name of God in vain, will not hesitate to break all his commandments.
"Anecdotes for Boys" by Harvey Newcomb
My coach tried in vain to get me to take the position he preferred; it hurt and strained me, and he gave up.
"At Plattsburg" by Allen French
She evidently felt she had been taking the law in vain.
"Simon" by J. Storer Clouston
In vain the French attempted to support them by taking the Guards in flank.
"Great Men and Famous Women. Vol. 2 of 8" by Various
In vain we attempted to take aim; before a barrel could be brought to bear upon them, they were gone out of sight.
"The Wild Huntress" by Mayne Reid
They sent for the said Robert to take some blood from him, but all in vain; for he died before midnight.
"Biographia Scoticana (Scots Worthies)" by John Howie
The Prince did not know which way to take, indeed, and he tried a great number of paths, but in vain.
"Forgotten Tales of Long Ago" by E. V. Lucas
The Headmaster taking two boys with him scoured the hills till darkness drew on, but in vain.
"A History of Giggleswick School" by Edward Allen Bell

In poetry:

He saw that man must be himself,
Or he will live in vain,
That nothing in this world can take
The place of his own brain.
"The Reading Man" by Thomas Frederick Young
But they, who are not born again,
Know nothing of it but the sound;
They do but take his name in vain
When most their zeal and pains abound.
"The Exorcists" by John Newton
O Happiness, celestial fair,
Our earliest hope, our latest care
Let us not sue in vain!
O deign to hear our fond request,
Come, take possession of our breast,
And there for ever reign.
"The Search After Happiness. A Pastoral Drama" by Hannah More
Ask me no more: thy fate and mine are seal'd:
I strove against the stream and all in vain:
Let the great river take me to the main:
No more, dear love, for at a touch I yield;
Ask me no more.
"The Princess: A Medley: Ask me no more" by Alfred Lord Tennyson
Ask me no more: thy fate and mine are sealed:
I strove against the stream and all in vain:
Let the great river take me to the main:
No more, dear love, for at a touch I yield;
Ask me no more.
"The Princess (part 6)" by Alfred Lord Tennyson
He takes his seat upon the cliffs,—the mariner
Cries in vain. Poor little wretch, that deal'st
With storms!—till heaven smiles, and the monster
Is driv'n yelling to his caves beneath mount Hecla.
"To Winter" by William Blake

In news:

Thou Shalt Not Take The Ex's Name In Vain .
Taking Names in Vain .
Thou Shalt Not Take The Ex's Name In Vain.
10-16 states that those that take the Lord's name in vain shall be stoned to death.
Newly Reviewed Aerwacol During a sort of apocalyptic fury, a Canadian pig farmer and his wife (Christopher Harris, Donna M Parrone) take to the railroad tracks in a vain attempt to escape the wrath of God.
They should take comfort in knowing that Ava 's life was not in vain.