• synonyms


  1. rat poison.
  2. the trioxide of arsenic.
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Origin of ratsbane

First recorded in 1515–25; rat + 's1 + bane
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for ratsbane

Historical Examples of ratsbane

  • 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.

British Dictionary definitions for ratsbane


  1. rat poison, esp arsenic oxide
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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

Word Origin and History for ratsbane


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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper