[buhg-er, boo g-]
  1. Informal. a fellow or lad (used affectionately or abusively): a cute little bugger.
  2. Informal. any object or thing.
  3. Often Vulgar. a sodomite.
  4. Chiefly British Slang.
    1. a despicable or contemptible person, especially a man.
    2. an annoying or troublesome thing, situation, etc.
verb (used with object)
  1. Often Vulgar. to sodomize.
  2. Slang. damn: Bugger the cost—I want the best.
  3. Chiefly British Slang. to trick, deceive, or take advantage of.
Verb Phrases
  1. bugger off, Chiefly British Slang. to depart; bug off.
  2. bugger up, Chiefly British Slang. to ruin; spoil; botch.
Compare sod3.

Origin of bugger

1300–50; Middle English bougre < Anglo-French bugre < Medieval Latin Bulgarus heretic, literally, Bulgarian, by association of the Balkans with heretical sects such as the Bogomils and their alleged deviant sexual practices; def. 1 perhaps by reanalysis as bug1 or bug2 + -er1 (cf. booger)


  1. a person who installs a hidden listening device.

Origin of bugger

First recorded in 1965–70; bug1 + -er1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for bugger


  1. a person who practises buggery
  2. slang a person or thing considered to be contemptible, unpleasant, or difficult
  3. slang a humorous or affectionate term for a man or childa silly old bugger; a friendly little bugger
  4. bugger all slang nothing
  5. play silly buggers slang to fool around and waste time
  1. to practise buggery (with)
  2. (tr) slang, mainly British to ruin, complicate, or frustrate
  3. slang to tire; wearyhe was absolutely buggered
  1. slang an exclamation of annoyance or disappointment

Word Origin for bugger

C16: from Old French bougre, from Medieval Latin Bulgarus Bulgarian; from the condemnation of the dualist heresy rife in Bulgaria from the tenth century to the fifteenth
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 bugger

"sodomite," 1550s, earlier "heretic" (mid-14c.), from Medieval Latin Bulgarus "a Bulgarian" (see Bulgaria), so called from bigoted notions of the sex lives of Eastern Orthodox Christians or of the sect of heretics that was prominent there 11c. Cf. Old French bougre "Bulgarian," also "heretic; sodomite." Softened secondary sense of "fellow, chap," is in British English from mid-19c. Related: Buggerly.


to commit buggery," 1590s, from bugger (n.). Meaning "ruin, spoil" is from 1923. Related: Buggered; buggering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper