from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Fatal injury or ruin: "Hath some fond lover tic'd thee to thy bane?” ( George Herbert).
  • n. A cause of harm, ruin, or death: "Obedience,/Bane of all genius, virtue, freedom, truth,/Makes slaves of men” ( Percy Bysshe Shelley).
  • n. A source of persistent annoyance or exasperation: "The spellings of foreign names are often the bane of busy copy editors” ( Norm Goldstein).
  • n. A deadly poison.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A cause of misery or death; an affliction or curse
  • n. A killer, murderer, slayer
  • n. Poison, especially any of several poisonous plants
  • v. To kill, especially by poison; to be the poison of.
  • v. To be the bane of.
  • n. A bone

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. That which destroys life, esp. poison of a deadly quality.
  • n. Destruction; death.
  • n. Any cause of ruin, or lasting injury; harm; woe.
  • n. A disease in sheep, commonly termed the rot.
  • transitive v. To be the bane of; to ruin.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To kill; poison.
  • To injure; ruin.
  • An obsolete form of bain.
  • An obsolete form of bain.
  • n. A slayer or murderer; a worker of death, as a man or an animal.
  • n. That which causes death or destroys life; especially, poison of a deadly quality.
  • n. Hence Any fatal cause of mischief, injury, or destruction: as, vice is the bane of society.
  • n. Ruin; destruction.
  • n. Death: usually with such verbs as catch, get, take: as, to catch one's bane.
  • n. A disease in sheep, more commonly called the rot.
  • n. Scotch form of bone.
  • n. An obsolete form of ban, especially in plural banes, now banns (which see).

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. something causing misery or death


Middle English, destroyer, from Old English bana; see gwhen- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle English, from Old English bana; akin to Old High German bano ("death"). (Wiktionary)
From Middle English northern dialect ban, from Old English bān (Wiktionary)


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