ratsbane

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From rat's +‎ bane. Compare henbane.

Noun[edit]

ratsbane (countable and uncountable, plural ratsbanes)

  1. Rat poison; white arsenic.
    • 1820, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Oedipus Tyrannus; Or, Swellfoot The Tyrant: A Tragedy in Two Acts:
      The Gadfly’s venom, fifty times distilled,
      Is mingled with the vomit of the Leech,
      In due proportion, and black ratsbane, which
      That very Rat, who, like the Pontic tyrant,
      Nurtures himself on poison, dare not touch;—
    • 1835, [Washington Irving], “Abbotsford”, in Abbotsford and Newstead Abbey (The Crayon Miscellany; no. 2), Philadelphia, Pa.: [Henry Charles] Carey, [Isaac] Lea, & Blanchard, OCLC 2031450, pages 40–41:
      Before him set the grim baron, with a face worthy of the father of such a daughter, and looking daggers and rat's bane.

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