from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A goblin in English folklore, often appearing in the shape of a large dog and believed to portend imminent death or misfortune.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A legendary monstrous black dog with huge teeth and claws.
- n. A ghost, wraith, hobgoblin, elf, or spirit.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A goblin, in the shape of a large dog, portending misfortune.
bar (perhaps from barrow2) + ghest, ghost (dialectal variant of ghost).(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Disputed; perhaps burh-ghest, town-ghost, or German Berg-geist (mountain spirit) or Bär-geist (bear-spirit). (Wiktionary)