bête noire

[beyt nwahr; French bet nwar] /ˌbeɪt ˈnwɑr; French bɛt ˈnwar/
noun, plural bêtes noires
[beyt nwahrz; French bet nwar] /ˌbeɪt ˈnwɑrz; French bɛt ˈnwar/ (Show IPA)
1.
a person or thing especially disliked or dreaded; bane; bugbear.
Origin
1835–45; < French: literally, black beast
British Dictionary definitions for bêtes noires
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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Word Origin and History for bêtes noires
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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bêtes noires in Culture
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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Difficulty index for bêtes noires

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