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

  • noun A cause of fear, anxiety, or irritation.
  • noun A difficult or persistent problem.
  • noun A fearsome imaginary creature, especially one evoked to frighten children.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Something that causes terror; especially, something that causes needless fright or apprehension.
  • Occasioning causeless fear: as, “such bugbear thoughts,”
  • To alarm with imaginary or idle fears.

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

  • noun Same as bugaboo.
  • transitive verb To alarm with idle phantoms.

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

  • noun An ongoing problem; a recurring obstacle or adversity.
  • noun A source of dread; resentment; or irritation.
  • noun An imaginary creature meant to inspire fear in children.
  • verb transitive To alarm with idle phantoms.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun an imaginary monster used to frighten children
  • noun an object of dread or apprehension


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

[Obsolete bug, hobgoblin (from Middle English bugge, perhaps from Welsh bwg) + bear.]


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  • Odd word, this one...

    November 24, 2007