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Wolf’s-bane

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The Germans call all poisonous herbs “banes,” and the Greeks, mistaking the word for “beans,” translated it by kŭʹamoî, as they did “hen-bane” (huos kuʹamos). Wolf’s-bane is an aconite with a pale yellow flower, called therefore the white-bane to distinguish it from the blue aconite. White-bean would be in Greek lcukos kuamos, which was corrupted into lukos kuamos (wolf-bean); but botanists, seeing the absurdity of calling aconite a “bean,” restored the original German wordbane,” but retained the corrupt word lukos (wolf), and hence the ridiculous term “wolf’s-bane.” (H. Fox Talbot.)

⁂ This cannot be correct: (1) bane is not German; (2) huos kuamos would be hog-bean, not hen-bane; (3) How could Greeks mistranslate German? The truth is, wolf-bane is so called because meat saturated with its juice was supposed to be a wolf-poison.

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Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

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Woo-tee Dynasty
Woden
Woe to Thee, O Land
Woful
Wokey
Wolf (in music)
Wolf
Wolf
Wolf Men
Wolf-month or Wolf-monath
Wolf’s-bane
Wolves
Wonder
Wonder-worker
Wood
Wood
Wood’s Halfpence
Woodbind
Woodbine
Woodcock (A)
Wooden Horse (The)