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bugbear

[buhg-bair] /ˈbʌgˌbɛər/
noun
1.
any source, real or imaginary, of needless fright or fear.
2.
a persistent problem or source of annoyance.
3.
Folklore. a goblin that eats up naughty children.
Origin
1570-1580
1570-80; bug2 + bear2
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for bug-bear

bugbear

/ˈbʌɡˌbɛə/
noun
1.
a thing that causes obsessive fear or anxiety
2.
(in English folklore) a goblin said to eat naughty children and thought to be in the form of a bear
Word Origin
C16: from bug² + bear²; 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
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Word Origin and History for bug-bear

bugbear

n.

1580s, a sort of demon in the form of a bear that eats small children, also "object of dread" (whether real or not), from obsolete bug "goblin, scarecrow" (see bug (n.)) + bear (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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