One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Use someone's name in a way that shows a lack of respect.
- ‘No-one these days can take Odin's name in vain, and, if swearing is any guide, perhaps the Christian panoply of sacred beings is going the same way as Thor and Odin.’
- ‘For every Broons there's been a Magoons (Meet the Magoons was the short-lived Caledonian curry-house sitcom that was actually pretty good, but I'm taking its name in vain because I need a rhyme).’
- ‘‘Someone taking my name in vain?‘said Caroline.’
- ‘They knew the third commandment: ‘You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.’’
- ‘Meanwhile a so-called rival diarist has been taking her name in vain, referring sneeringly to her brief career as an author of bodice rippers.’
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