an irritation


bane = Unheil, Ruin, Verderben; Verärgerung, Irritation —— bane of modern society = Fluch der modernen Gesellschaft ——- boon and bane = Fluch und Segen ——- the bane of his life = der Fluch seines Lebens



“Unanswered emails were the BANE of my life - until I spent a month in search of inbox nirvana”

Moya Sarner - Guardian Headline (8 Feb 2018)

“The BANE of brilliance - Some high-performing employees suffer for their success."

The Economist - ‘Workplace woes’ (18 Aug 2016)

Did you


- a cause of continuous trouble or unhappiness

- a cause of great distress or annoyance

- a source of harm or ruin

Oxford Languages / Cambridge Dictionary / Merriam-Webster


“Bane” stems from the Old English bana meaning “killer, slayer, murderer, a worker of death” and Old High German bana “death, destruction”. The sense of “that which causes ruin, trouble, or irritation” is from the 1570s.

Notwithstanding negative origins, we often use the phrase “The bane of my life” affectionately, as in: “That cat is the bane of my life, but I love her dearly.”


In an article on Zippia dot com, Sky Ariella lists “70 Things That Practically Everyone Finds Annoying”... below are 10. How many of these annoy you?

1. Not signalling before turning

2. Looking at smartphone while someone is talking

3. Talking to someone wearing earphones

4. Texting during a movie

5. Slow internet

6. Waiting for elevators

7. Scraping a plate with a knife or fork

8. Loud chewing or drinking

9. The cracking of knuckles

10. Hot food served on cold plates

Wanda Sykes was once asked to name her biggest annoyance: “You know what?” she replied, “Everything annoys me. So I drink!”


- something that is personally annoying:

aggravation, aggro, agitation, anathema, annoyance, BANE, botheration, bugbear, burden, cross to bear, exasperation, frustration, gadfly, gripe, hair shirt, hang-up, infliction, infuriation, irksomeness, irritant, irritation, molestation, nuisance, pain in the backside (the behind, the bum, the neck, the rear), peeve, personal hate (vexation), pester, pesterer, pet aversion (hate), pet peeve, source of aggravation (annoyance, disruption, irritation, vexation), THE BANE OF ONE'S LIFE, thorn in one’s side, torment, trials and tribulations, tribulation, vexation

SMUGGLE OWAD into an English conversation, say something like:

“Slow internet was the BANE of my life, but now I welcome it... I use the waiting time to practice muscle training. So what's the BANE of your life?”

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Paul Smith, IBAN: DE75 7316 0000 0002 5477 40

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