take in vain

idiomatic phrase

: to use (a name) profanely or without proper respect
Numbers of clergymen have from time to time reproached me for making jokes about religion; and they have almost always invoked the authority of that very sensible commandment which says, "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain."G. K. Chesterton
… I was mercifully preserved by that great God whose name they had blasphemed and taken in vainDaniel Defoe

Word History

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of take in vain was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near take in vain

Cite this Entry

“Take in vain.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/take%20in%20vain. Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

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