from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Something used or suggested to produce terror; a bugbear.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Something used or suggested to produce terror, as in children or persons of weak mind; a bugbear.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Something that excites needless fear; a hobgoblin; an object of terror.


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  • In North Country and West Country dialects, a term for any frightening supernatural figure. In Reginald Scot's The Discoverie of Witchcraft (1584), it comes at the head of a mixed list of scary creatures: "Our mothers' maids have so fraied us with bull beggars, spirits, witches, urchins, elves...and other such bugs that we are afraid of our owne shadowes." (Oxford Dictionary of English Folklore)

    -- From Julie K. Rose's blog.

    November 7, 2008