Words related to bane

autobahn (n.)

"German expressway," 1937, from German Autobahn (1930s), from auto "motor car, automobile" (short for automobil; see auto) + bahn "path, road," from Middle High German ban, bane "way, road," literally "strike" (as a swath cut through), from PIE *gwhen- "to strike, kill" (see bane).

bezoar (n.)

1540s, "stone used as an antidote against poison," via Medieval Latin, from Arabic bazahr, from Persian pad-zahr "counter-poison," from pad "protecting, guardian, master" (from Iranian *patar-, source also of Avestan patar-, from PIE *pa-tor-, from root *pa- "to feed, protect") + zahr "poison" (from Old Iranian *jathra, from PIE *gwhn-tro-, from root *gwhen- "to strike, kill;" see bane).

The name is attested later in reference to a concoction from solid matter found in the stomachs and intestines of ruminants, which was held to have antidotal qualities (1570s). Related: Bezoardic.

fleabane (n.)

also flea-bane, 1540s, from flea (n.) + bane (n.). Old English had fleawyrt, used of various plants supposed to destroy fleas.

gonfalon (n.)

1590s, variant of Middle English gonfanon (c. 1300), from Old French gonfanon "knight's pennon" (12c., Modern French gonfalon), from Frankish *gundfano or Old High German guntfano "battle flag," from a Proto-Germanic compound of *gunthjo "war, battle" (from PIE *gwhen- "to strike, kill;" see bane) + *fano "banner" (compare Gothic fana "cloth;" see fane). Cognate with Old English guþfana, Old Norse gunnfani. Change of -n- to -l- by dissimilation.

gun (n.)

mid-14c., gunne "an engine of war that throws rocks, arrows or other missiles from a tube by the force of explosive powder or other substance," apparently a shortening of woman's name Gunilda, found in Middle English gonnilde "cannon" and in an Anglo-Latin reference to a specific gun from a 1330 munitions inventory of Windsor Castle ("... una magna balista de cornu quae Domina Gunilda ..."). Also compare gonnilde gnoste "spark or flame used to fire a cannon" (early 14c.).

The woman's name is from Old Norse Gunnhildr, a compound of gunnr and hildr, both meaning "war, battle." First element from PIE *gwhen- "to strike, kill" (see bane); for second, see Hilda.

The identification of women with powerful weapons is common historically (such as Big Bertha, Brown Bess, Mons Meg, etc.).

Or perhaps gun is directly from Old Norse gunnr "battle." The word was perhaps influenced by or confirmed by (or possibly from) Old French engon, dialectal variant of engin "engine."

Meaning grew with technology, from cannons to firearms as they developed 15c.; popularly applied to pistols and revolvers from 1744. In modern military use the word is restricted to cannons (which must be mounted), especially long ones used for high velocity and long trajectory. Hence great guns (1884 as an exclamation) distinguished from small guns (such as muskets) from c. 1400. Meaning "thief, rascal" is from 1858. For son of a gun, see son. To jump the gun (1912, American English) is a figurative use from track and field. Guns "a woman's breasts" (especially if prominent) attested by 2006.

[G]un covers firearms from the heaviest naval or siege guns (but in technical use excluding mortars and howitzers) to the soldier's rifle or the sportsman's shotgun, and in current U.S. use even the gangster's revolver. In the other European languages there is no such comprehensive word, but different terms for the small or hand gun of the soldier or sportsman (even these, sometimes differentiated) and the heavy naval guns or artillery pieces .... [Buck, 1949]
henbane (n.)

poisonous Eurasian plant, mid-13c., said to be from hen (n.) + bane (n.) but this may be folk etymology. Brewer says of it, "There is no such [Old English] word as hen-bana, hen murderer, and the notion of the seeds being fatal to poultry arose from misapprehension of the word." Other Old English names for this plant were henbelle and hendwole (see belladonna.) Hanebane is recorded in Old French as the name for the plant, suggesting possible continental origin for the word.

Iusquiamus, henne bane, is mannes bane. [John de Trevisa, "Bartholomeus de Proprietatibus Rerum," 14th century.]


wife of Hades, queen of the netherworld, identified with Kore, daughter of Zeus and Demeter, from Greek Persephone. De Vaan writes that "The name was always considered obscure" until a thorough investigation published in 2006 reported that the original form was persophatta, "as found in eight attestations, seven of which are on 5th c. BC Attic vases (by seven different painters)." He analyzes it as *perso-, cognate with Sanskrit parsa- "sheaf of corn," + a second element from the PIE root *gwhen- "to hit, strike" (see bane) thus "a female thresher of corn."

ratsbane (n.)

"rat poison, arsenic," 1520s; see rat (n.) + bane. Compare henbane, fleabane, wolfsbane.

wolfsbane (n.)

"aconite" (especially Aconitum lycoctonum), a somewhat poisonous plant, 1540s, from wolf + bane; a translation of Latin lycoctonum, from Greek lykotonon, from lykos "wolf" + base of kteinein "to kill." Also known dialectally as badger's bane, hare's bane, bear's bane.