be at pains

idiom

: to try hard (to do something)
They were at pains to distance themselves from the scandal.

Examples of be at pains in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web At the same time, the Chinese government will be at pains not to give any support to a narrative that Beijing is worried about the strategic partnership. Joseph Torigian, Fortune, 3 July 2023 The hockey federation, and International Olympic Committee officials, will be at pains not to anger a host nation, and certainly not one as powerful as China. New York Times, 28 Oct. 2021 Attorney General Letitia James is well aware of the potential hazards of incurring Cuomo’s wrath and seemed to be at pains to make the report as bland as possible. Kyle Smith, National Review, 12 Feb. 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'be at pains.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Dictionary Entries Near be at pains

Cite this Entry

“Be at pains.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/be%20at%20pains. Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

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