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[beyn] /beɪn/
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.
Origin of bane
before 1000; Middle English; Old English bana slayer; cognate with Old Norse bani death, murderer, Old Frisian bona murder, Old Saxon bano murderer, Old High German bano slayer, bana death; akin to Old English benn, Gothic banja wound Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for banes
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I thought you were drowned in the water, or a' your banes broken.

  • O'Rourke snorted disgustedly: "Lave it to Bhoynton to shpill the banes!"

    Terry Charles Goff Thomson
  • My certie, if the ill-set loon were to come up the road the noo, I wad thresh the very skin aff his banes!

  • Leucorrhea is one of the banes of the modern girl and woman.

    Woman William J. Robinson
  • Captain banes,” cried Brace excitedly, “give orders for the hatches to be taken off at once.

    Old Gold George Manville Fenn
  • The next minute the mate was face to face with Captain banes.

    Old Gold George Manville Fenn
  • Thirty-two thousand pineapples were shipped from banes in 1894.

    Industrial Cuba Robert P. Porter
  • The mate did not stir till he had seen Captain banes on board.

    Old Gold George Manville Fenn
British Dictionary definitions for banes


a person or thing that causes misery or distress (esp in the phrase bane of one's life)
something that causes death or destruction
  1. a fatal poison
  2. (in combination): ratsbane
(archaic) ruin or distress
Word Origin
Old English bana; related to Old Norse bani death, Old High German bano destruction, death


/ben; beɪn/
a Scot word for bone
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for banes



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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