Bane is a noun which chiefly means something which hurts or destroys. It is also a synonym for poison and death. Obsolete meanings include a murderer and a verb form which meant to murder by poisoning.

    The word is most commonly heard in the phrase, or some version of the phrase, bane of my existence. The phrase is used to describing something or someone has the main cause of pain or woe in a person’s life. That phrase has been around since at least 1800.


    1. I always think of this word as part of a Viking name, e.g. Ragnar Wolfsbane.

      • Jay Igaboo says

        Probably is Viking, or old Anglo Saxon.
        The article is misleading in implying that “the bane of my existence”(and giving the impression that “bane” may be around the same age. has been around since about 1800.
        One of my interests has been wild plants and what you can do with them (mostly can I eat them)
        Wolfsbane is a plant that can be used against wolves, and it has always been called Wolfsbane( likewise fleabane, henbane- -the opposite, plants that heal, are “worts” eg Lungwort, St john’s Wort
        The last wolf in Britain was killed in the Scottish Highlands possibly as late as 1743, other source say in the Highlands c1680.
        In England, the source of the name, they were extinct 200 years earlier.

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