\ ˈbān How to pronounce bane (audio) \

Definition of bane

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a source of harm or ruin : curse national frontiers have been more of a bane than a boon for mankind— D. C. Thomson
2a : death, destruction … stop the way of those that seek my bane— Philip Sidney
b : woe
c : poison
d obsolete : killer, slayer


baned; baning

Definition of bane (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

: to kill especially with poison

Definition of bane (Entry 3 of 3)

chiefly Scotland

Synonyms & Antonyms for bane

Synonyms: Noun (1)

Antonyms: Noun (1)

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First Known Use of bane

Noun (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2d


1578, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

1578, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for bane

Noun (1)

Middle English, "killer, agent of death, death," going back to Old English bana "killer, agent of death," going back to Germanic *banan- (whence also Old Frisian bana, bona "killer," Old High German bano "killer, murderer," Old Norse bani "murderer, violent death"), of uncertain origin

Note: Another Germanic derivative from the same base is represented by Old English benn (feminine strong noun) "wound, sore," Old Saxon beniwunda, Old Norse ben "wound," Gothic banja "blow, wound." Attempts have been made to derive the etymon from Indo-European *gwhen- "strike, kill" (see defend), but the general view is that initial *gwh could not yield b in Germanic.


derivative of bane entry 1

Noun (2)

early Scots and northern Middle English ban, bane, going back to Old English bān — more at bone entry 1

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Time Traveler for bane

Time Traveler

The first known use of bane was before the 12th century

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Cite this Entry

“Bane.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bane. Accessed 26 May. 2020.

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\ ˈbān How to pronounce bane (audio) \

Medical Definition of bane

: poison — see henbane

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More from Merriam-Webster on bane

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with bane

Spanish Central: Translation of bane

Nglish: Translation of bane for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bane for Arabic Speakers

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