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bête noire

[ beyt -nwahr; French bet -nwar ]
/ ˌbeɪt ˈnwɑr; French bɛt ˈnwar /
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noun, plural bêtes noires [beyt -nwahrz; French bet -nwar]. /ˌbeɪt ˈnwɑrz; French bɛt ˈnwar/.

a person or thing especially disliked or dreaded; bane; bugbear.

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Origin of bête noire

1835–45; <French: literally, black beast
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for bête noire

British Dictionary definitions for bête noire

bête noire
/ French (bɛt nwar) /

noun plural bêtes noires (bɛt nwar)

a person or thing that one particularly dislikes or dreads

Word Origin for bête noire

literally: black beast
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Cultural definitions for bête noire

bête noire
[ (bet nwahr) ]

Something or someone a person views with particular dislike: “The new candidate for governor is the bête noire of all the liberals in the state.” From French, meaning “black beast.”

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with bête noire

bête noire

A person or thing that is particularly disliked. For example, Calculus was the bête noire of my freshman courses. This phrase, French for “black beast,” entered the English language in the early 1800s. For synonyms, see pain in the neck; thorn in one's flesh.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
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