- a person or thing that ruins or spoils: Gambling was the bane of his existence.
- a deadly poison (often used in combination, as in the names of poisonous plants): wolfsbane; henbane.
- death; destruction; ruin.
- Obsolete. that which causes death or destroys life: entrapped and drowned beneath the watery bane.
- a person or thing that causes misery or distress (esp in the phrase bane of one’s life)
- something that causes death or destruction
- a fatal poison
- (in combination)ratsbane
- archaic ruin or distress
- a Scot word for bone
Old English bana “killer, slayer, murderer; the devil,” from Proto-Germanic *banon, cognate with *banja- “wound” (cf. Old Frisian bona “murderer,” Old Norse bani, Old High German bana “murder,” Old English benn “wound,” Gothic banja “stroke, wound”), from PIE root *gwhen- “to strike, kill, wound” (cf. Avestan banta “ill”). Modern sense of “that which causes ruin or woe” is from 1570s.