Friday, October 15, 2010

The bane of my existence.

There is one aspect of my job that I'm not particularly crazy about (okay, I've had nightmares about it) and I often describe it as the bane of my existence.  The last time I said that, Dennis (my pastor/boss) asked if I even knew what "bane" meant.

Never being one to lie about my stupidity since it shows every time I open my mouth, I admitted to him that I didn't exactly know what bane meant but I knew the gist of it and was confident that I was using the phrase correctly.

He said I couldn't keep using that phrase if I didn't even know what all the words meant.  Dennis has pretty good grammar skills and is an excellent speaker/teacher but there have been times when we've had to call an English teacher to get grammar or language advice on his sermon notes.  He does not even try to present himself as the grammar police so I knew this had nothing to do with me using words that I didn't know the definition for, but probably more to do with the fact that he's tired of hearing me complain about the bane of my existence and thought this might put an end to it.  And it did.  For a few days.

I saw the logic in not using words that I, myself, don't fully understand so I set about to educate myself.  Here is what I've learned about "bane":

From ChaCha:
Something or someone is "the bane of my existence" means that the person or thing is a constant irritant or source of misery.
Bane \Bane\ (b[=a]n), n.
  1. That which destroys life, esp. poison of a deadly quality.
  2. Destruction; death.
  3. Any cause of ruin, or lasting injury; harm; woe.
  4. A disease in sheep, commonly termed the rot.
bane (bān)
  1. Old Poet. deadly harm; ruin; death
  2. the cause of distress, death, or ruin
  3. deadly poison: now obsolete except in ratsbane, etc.  _____________________________________________________________________  
bane noun \ˈbān\
1 a obsolete : killer, slayer 
   b : poison  
   c : death, destruction bane 
   d : woe
2: a source of harm or ruin : curse bane than a boon for mankind 
bane[beyn] –noun

  1.  a person or thing that ruins or spoils: Gambling was the bane of his existence.
  2. a deadly poison (often used in combination, as in the names of poisonous plants): wolfsbane; henbane.
  3. death; destruction; ruin.
  4. Obsolete . that which causes death or destroys life: entrapped and drowned beneath the watery bane. 
bane n

1. a person or thing that causes misery or distress (esp in the phrase bane of one's life)
2. something that causes death or destruction
3.   a.  a fatal poison
      b.  (in combination) ratsbane
4. Archaic ruin or distress

I believe I now have a pretty darn good grasp of the word "bane", what it means, and how to properly use it in a sentence.  Now that I have educated myself and apparently met the minimum requirements for "bane" usage, I intend to get some good mileage out of my efforts and will be using the word "bane" at every possible opportunity.

And just so you know, that thing that was the bane of my existence before I knew what bane was?  It's even more of a bane now.    

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