1. any of several poisonous plants of the parsley family, as Oxypolis rigidior, of swampy areas of North America, or the water hemlock, Cicuta maculata.

Origin of cowbane

First recorded in 1770–80; cow1 + bane Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for cowbane

Historical Examples of cowbane

British Dictionary definitions for cowbane


  1. Also called: water hemlock any of several N temperate poisonous umbelliferous marsh plants of the genus Cicuta, esp C. virosa, having clusters of small white flowers
  2. a similar and related plant, Oxypolis rigidior of the southeastern and central US
  3. any umbelliferous plant reputed to be poisonous to cattle
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