Anything that's baneful is destructive or disastrous. The effects of wildfires can be baneful, causing the loss of people's homes, health, and even their lives.

The baneful effects of having an incredibly difficult math class at eight in the morning don't begin to compare to the baneful results of climate change. Still, feel free to use this archaic adjective for anything you consider to be extremely harmful. It comes from the noun bane and its Old English root, bana, which means not just "killer, slayer, murderer," but also "the devil."

Definitions of baneful
  1. adjective
    deadly or sinister
    synonyms: baleful
    harmful or evil in intent or effect
  2. adjective
    exceedingly harmful
    synonyms: deadly, pernicious, pestilent
    injurious to physical or mental health
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week