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[rats-beyn] /ˈrætsˌbeɪn/
rat poison.
the trioxide of arsenic.
Origin of ratsbane
First recorded in 1515-25; rat + 's1 + bane Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for ratsbane
Historical Examples
  • If he wears a dagger and ratsbane, it must be to do mischief to himself or somebody else.

    The History of John Bull John Arbuthnot
  • Doolittle is a rat, and I will hire somebody to give him ratsbane.

  • Did I think he was so weak as bite holes in his flesh with ratsbane?

  • I counselled him either to give or take an ounce of ratsbane, to cure his mind.

  • If his wife and children are not to be made over, he is not to wear a dagger and ratsbane in his pockets.

    The History of John Bull John Arbuthnot
  • Mrs. Smith's doctor tells her if she wants poison she had better get ratsbane, and then she will know what she is swallowing.

    Ginger-Snaps Fanny Fern
  • If his Lordship had sent me an infusion of ratsbane in the loving-cup, I should have taken it much more kindly at his hands.

    Our Old Home, Vol. 2 Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • It is the double-distilled extract of nux vomica, ratsbane, and adder's tongue.

    New Tabernacle Sermons Thomas De Witt Talmage
British Dictionary definitions for ratsbane


rat poison, esp arsenic oxide
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 ratsbane

"rat poison, arsenic," 1520s; see rat (n.) + bane.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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