- any source, real or imaginary, of needless fright or fear.
- a persistent problem or source of annoyance.
- Folklore. a goblin that eats up naughty children.
Origin of bugbear
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for bugbear
I laughed at his bugbear and flung Colonel Corkran in his teeth.It Happened in Egypt
C. N. Williamson
If he has not ceased to be an idol, he has at any rate ceased to be a bugbear.
The chest was soon filled with quilts and that bugbear was gone from her life.Patchwork
Anna Balmer Myers
I will keep each faction in awe by the bugbear of the other's supremacy.The Infernal Marriage
We hear of the prevention of unemployment, the removal of the bugbear of "losing the job."The Psychology of Nations
- a thing that causes obsessive fear or anxiety
- (in English folklore) a goblin said to eat naughty children and thought to be in the form of a bear
C16: from bug ² + bear ²; compare bugaboo
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
Word Origin and History for bugbear
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper