from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun An insect having mouthparts used for piercing and sucking, such as an aphid, a bedbug, or a stinkbug.
  • noun An insect of any kind, such as a cockroach or a ladybug.
  • noun A small invertebrate with many legs, such as a spider or a centipede.
  • noun A disease-producing microorganism or agent.
  • noun The illness or disease so produced.
  • noun A defect or difficulty, as in a system or design.
  • noun Computers A defect in the code or routine of a program.
  • noun An enthusiasm or obsession.
  • noun An enthusiast or devotee; a buff.
  • noun An electronic listening device, such as a hidden microphone or wiretap, used in surveillance.
  • intransitive verb To grow large; bulge.
  • intransitive verb To annoy; pester.
  • intransitive verb To prey on; worry.
  • intransitive verb To equip (a room or telephone circuit, for example) with a concealed electronic listening device.
  • intransitive verb To make (the eyes) bulge or grow large.
  • idiom (put a bug in (someone's) ear) To impart useful information to (another) in a subtle, discreet way.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To hunt for bugs; collect or destroy insects: chiefly in the present participle: as, to go bugging.
  • To bend.
  • Big; threatening.
  • Proud; self-important; pompous; conceited.
  • noun A term loosely applied to many kinds of insects, commonly with certain distinctive additions, as May-bug, lady-bug, land-bugs (Geocorisæ), water-bugs (Hydrocorisæ), etc.
  • noun Especially The Cimex lectularius, the bedbug or house-bug, or any member of this genus or of the family Cimicidæ.
  • noun plural In entomology, the Hemiptera, and especially the heteropterous division of that order.
  • noun An entomostracous crustacean of cursorial habit or bug-like aspect, as an isopod.
  • noun A hobgoblin; a specter; anything terrifying; a bugbear.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb to annoy; to bother or pester.
  • noun obsolete A bugbear; anything which terrifies.
  • noun (Zoöl.) A general name applied to various insects belonging to the Hemiptera
  • noun (Zoöl.) An insect of the genus Cimex, especially the bedbug (Cimex lectularius). See Bedbug.
  • noun (Zoöl.) One of various species of Coleoptera.
  • noun (Zoöl.) One of certain kinds of Crustacea
  • noun (Computers) An error in the coding of a computer program, especially one causing the program to malfunction or fail. See, for example, year 2000 bug.
  • noun Any unexpected defect or flaw, such as in a machine or a plan.
  • noun A hidden electronic listening device, used to hear or record conversations surreptitiously.
  • noun colloq. An infectious microorganism; a germ{4}.
  • noun colloq. An undiagnosed illness, usually mild, believed to be caused by an infectious organism.
  • noun colloq. An enthusiast; -- used mostly in combination, .
  • noun See under Bait.
  • noun [Obs.] swaggering or threatening language.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun An insect of the order Hemiptera (the "true bugs").
  • noun colloquial Any insect, arachnid, or other terrestrial arthropod that is a pest.
  • noun Various species of marine crustaceans; e.g. a Morton Bay bug.
  • noun A problem that needs fixing, especially in computing.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Perhaps alteration (influenced by obsolete bug, hobgoblin; see bugbear) of Middle English boude, budde, beetle, weevil, from Old English -budda as in scearnbudda, dung beetle; akin to Low German dialectal budde, louse.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

First attested in this form around 1620 (referring to a bedbug), from earlier bugge ("beetle"), a conflation of two words:


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word bug.


  • 该版本的主要变化包括:针对 Internet Explorer 7 的 bug 修正;改进了 crypt32,包含新的导出向导;更好的支持无窗 Richedit;对 "打印" 对话框进行了改善;修复了 Windows 平台上的回归测试问题及其他许多 bug。

    LinuxTOY 2009

  • The term "bug," while having a specific taxonomic meaning, is also used as an umbrella term to include land-arthropods in general, including arachnids, like scorpions and spiders.

    Daniella Martin: What Do Bugs Taste Like, Anyway? Daniella Martin 2011

  • I agree with Dave Winer's rant against what he calls bug graphics, and which I call kipple.

    Startup idea #19578234: KippleKillr 2006

  • I agree with Dave Winer's rant against what he calls bug graphics, and which I call kipple.

    Archive 2006-06-01 2006

  • The term "bogeyman" seems to have come from the Welsh "bwg" spirit and the word "bug" was applied to insects because of the belief that insects were souls in search of rebirth.

    WalesOnline - Home 2011

  • While he runs, Zeizel keeps what he calls a bug-out bag within reach.

    NYT > Home Page By GEORGE VECSEY 2010

  • While he runs, Zeizel keeps what he calls a bug-out bag within reach.

    NYT > Home Page By GEORGE VECSEY 2010

  • While he runs, Zeizel keeps what he calls a bug-out bag within reach.

    NYT > Home Page By GEORGE VECSEY 2010

  • I was ready to comment on the previous post, and say that in the spirit of the season, a Trini would tell you "the boy so cute he get malju" (derived from the French mals yeux), but that kind of bug is awful.

    Tricks are TrickyThings ewe are here 2008

  • Depending on what bug is in your gut, and depending on if it had been already partially treated with antibiotics by the former carrier, your antibiotic treatment may or may not help you.

    Treating Food/Water Poisoning in Mexico, or Any Other Place 2009

  • The term “bug,” which Engelbart initially used for the mouse, was now being used to describe the cursor on the screen.

    The Time I Met Bill English ricmac 2023


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  • Hey John,

    I hope you're having a good day. I'm only signed into certain pages today. For example, I can't comment on bugs, but I can leave a comment on this page.

    :) Jen

    November 18, 2007

  • Hey John,

    I saw on the main page that jennarenn commented on this word, saying she was unable to comment on certain words but could on others. I noticed this also--for example, neither jennarenn nor I can comment on the "bugs" page (it tells me to register or login) but we can on this one.

    Only, jennarenn's comment is not visible to me on this page, and nor is anyone else's.

    Noticed this with some other comments that were on the front page, including yours--went to respond but that page asked me to register or login.

    November 19, 2007

  • Hi John: The comment function has gone totally crazy - some comments I have made are showing up attributed to others; some words don't allow me to comment, but ask me to log in. it seems i'm not the only one experiencing these difficulties.


    November 19, 2007

  • test

    November 19, 2007

  • *deleted*

    November 19, 2007

  • Arrgh, so sorry about the screwed up commenting. I redid the template for words, and left the caching for it in a screwy state, which caused all sorts of issue. I just turned all caching off for word pages, which should fix the functionality, though it might make things a little slower. Working on fixing it so I can turn caching back on.

    November 19, 2007

  • This is a test comment by sionnach.

    November 19, 2007

  • Will we ever know who these jennarenns are, or is that information gone forever? (It seems from the comments that some of these are misattributed.)

    This seems a good moment to deny that anything indecorous I might appear to have said recently was really said by me.

    November 19, 2007

  • Sadly, or opportunely, everyone now has plausible deniability for last night and this morning. There's no way to figure out who actually said what on the screwed up comments.

    Though I can set things straight comment by comment, directly in the db, if anyone wants me to. Feel free to email me ( if you'd like me to do that. Include a link to the misattributed comment.

    Jennarenn, so sorry we all became you for a brief period :-) Please do let me know if you want any comments that weren't yours stricken from your record.

    November 19, 2007

  • Well, you're safe if you couldn't say anything at all (which is the problem I had)! ;-) Thanks, John, for fixing things so quickly.

    November 19, 2007

  • Full disclosure: I, sionnach, am the jennarenn known as david.

    November 19, 2007

  • I'm the jennarenn who posted the second comment on this page. Thanks John!

    November 19, 2007

  • Interesting how all but j. were prempted. Jennarenn rules! ;oD

    November 19, 2007

  • Sadly, I was no jennarenn at all. :-(

    November 19, 2007

  • I seem to have missed all the excitement. I'm fine with all the comments that were made in my name. Now where to add bug...?

    November 20, 2007

  • Wait--is that really you? ;->

    November 20, 2007

  • bug(s)


    January 24, 2008

  • Benguela Airport or Gen. V. Deslandes Airport (Angola).

    October 29, 2008

  • Great airport code!

    October 29, 2008

  • hi there. i've been experiencing problems on Wordie recently... i am being logged out randomly - was I given a ban or something? :)

    Anyway... I log in, find a word i want to add to my list, and... dang! i'm logged out. Any help anyone?!

    August 7, 2009

  • Weird that Stuyvesant produces a 404.

    July 16, 2021