bête noire

bête noire

[beyt nwahr; French bet nwar]
noun, plural bêtes noires [beyt nwahrz; French bet nwar] .
a person or thing especially disliked or dreaded; bane; bugbear.

Origin:
1835–45; < French: literally, black beast

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
bête noire (bɛt nwar)
 
n , pl bêtes noires
a person or thing that one particularly dislikes or dreads
 
[literally: black beast]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

bete noire
"an insufferable person," 1844, from Fr. bête noire "personal aversion," as an adj., "stupid, foolish;" lit. "the black beast."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
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 American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

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® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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