"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[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. 2015.
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Examples from the web for bane
  • Blisters are the bane of house painters, both pros and amateurs.
  • Spam is the bane of computer users everywhere, accounting for more than 90% of e-mail.
  • Endless replays can be the bane of any telecast.
  • Traffic jams are the bane of any commuter.
  • Repetition is the bane of my existence.
  • Democratic reforms are the bane of dictators.
  • Little things that we loved to do together have now become a bane for him.
  • The bane of all science is coincidence.
  • The delay has proved both a bane and a blessing.
  • Incorrectly entered data are the bane of a bookseller's existence.
British Dictionary definitions for bane


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 bane

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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