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BANE

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BANE

Postby Dr. Goodword » Sun Mar 04, 2012 12:29 am

• bane •

Pronunciation: bayn • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. Death or a cause of death, such as poison. 2. A cause of ruin or destruction, usually in the figurative sense.

Notes: Today's word is a virtual antonym of boon "a great benefit, windfall", coincidentally spelled with the same consonants, making it easy to remember. Bane has an adjective, baneful, replete with an adverb, banefully; nothing else.

In Play: Bane is most often used hyperbolically these days, as is boon: "My children can be the bane of my life or a boon to it, but seldom are they anything in between." (Know the feeling?) However, the sense of a cause of real destruction is still available in this word: "Unlike the good old days, when the press often looked the other way, the slightest scandal in Washington now is the bane of a political career."

Word History: Today's word has changed quite a bit since Old English, when it was bana "destroyer, slayer". It is related to Danish bane "death, murder" but also "path, road", like German Bahn "highway" (the connection predates the German highway without speed limits, the Autobahn). These two seemingly unrelated meanings probably come from a day when a path or road was seen as a place through the forest chopped or cut clear by blows of axes, since the ancestor of bane and Bahn apparently meant "to hit, strike".
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Postby Philip Hudson » Sun Mar 04, 2012 5:09 pm

Has anyone read the novel "Precious Bane" by Mary Webb? I do not know much about the author. She wrote this book in 1924. I read it when I was a teen and have reread it several times. In this case, her bane was something that was thought to be very bad, but turned out to her advantage.
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Postby Slava » Sun Mar 04, 2012 8:03 pm

As one who has not spawned, I do not "Know the feeling." However, the phrase "bane of my existence" is one of my favorites.
Life is like playing chess with chessmen who each have thoughts and feelings and motives of their own.
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Mon Mar 05, 2012 11:58 am

A bane and a 'nemesis' sort of comparison. Somewhere
in the New Testament Paul calls something a
"thorn in his side".
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
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Postby Perry Lassiter » Mon Mar 05, 2012 12:20 pm

Not quite. It was a "thorn in the flesh" sent to keep him humble. A favorite game of scholars is to debate exactly what that was. Favorite explanations include poor eyesight, migraines, malaria. One or two old writers refer to him as a hunchback.
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Mon Mar 05, 2012 1:28 pm

I've even heard a "tryst": an affair which gave him no
end of torture.
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Postby Philip Hudson » Mon Mar 05, 2012 2:01 pm

Since the Apostle Paul was a rabbi, according to Jewish custom of the time he probably was married. There is no mention of his wife in the Bible. Peter had a wife, but there is no mention of Paul’s wife. Perhaps the thorn in the flesh was an absent wife who had a claim on him. Something like, “Quit gallivanting all over the place, come home and earn a living for your wife.” Some Biblical scholars have suggested that. Paul mentions having written the ending of one of his letters with his own hand. Apparently he had dictated most of the letter to a secretary. My guess is that Paul’s thorn in the flesh was approaching blindness, perhaps macular degeneration.
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Mon Mar 05, 2012 2:39 pm

Makes as much sense as any, especially with the
"written in his own hand' business. Thanks, good insight.
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