put a bug in someones ear

bug

1 [buhg]
noun
1.
Also called true bug, hemipteran, hemipteron. a hemipterous insect.
2.
(loosely) any insect or insectlike invertebrate.
3.
Informal. any microorganism, especially a virus: He was laid up for a week by an intestinal bug.
4.
Informal. a defect or imperfection, as in a mechanical device, computer program, or plan; glitch: The test flight discovered the bugs in the new plane.
5.
Informal.
a.
a person who has a great enthusiasm for something; fan or hobbyist: a hi-fi bug.
b.
a craze or obsession: He's got the sports-car bug.
6.
Informal.
a.
a hidden microphone or other electronic eavesdropping device.
b.
any of various small mechanical or electrical gadgets, as one to influence a gambling device, give warning of an intruder, or indicate location.
7.
a mark, as an asterisk, that indicates a particular item, level, etc.
8.
Horse Racing. the five-pound weight allowance that can be claimed by an apprentice jockey.
9.
a telegraph key that automatically transmits a series of dots when moved to one side and one dash when moved to the other.
10.
Poker Slang. a joker that can be used only as an ace or as a wild card to fill a straight or a flush.
11.
Printing. a label printed on certain matter to indicate that it was produced by a union shop.
12.
any of various fishing plugs resembling an insect.
13.
Chiefly British. a bedbug.
verb (used with object), bugged, bugging. Informal.
14.
to install a secret listening device in (a room, building, etc.) or on (a telephone or other device): The phone had been bugged.
15.
to bother; annoy; pester: She's bugging him to get her into show business.
Verb phrases
16.
bug off, Slang. to leave or depart, especially rapidly: I can't help you, so bug off.
17.
bug out, Slang. to flee in panic; show panic or alarm.
Idioms
18.
put a bug in someone's ear, to give someone a subtle suggestion; hint: We put a bug in his ear about a new gymnasium.

Origin:
1615–25; 1885–90 for def 4; 1910–15 for def 5a; 1915–20 for def 14; 1945–50 for def 15; earlier bugge beetle, apparently alteration of Middle English budde, Old English -budda beetle; sense “leave” obscurely related to other senses and perhaps of distinct orig.

unbugged, adjective


15. nag, badger, harass, plague, needle.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
bug1 (bʌɡ)
 
n
1.  assassin bug bedbug See also chinch bug any insect of the order Hemiptera, esp any of the suborder Heteroptera, having piercing and sucking mouthparts specialized as a beak (rostrum)
2.  chiefly (US), (Canadian) any insect, such as the June bug or the Croton bug
3.  informal
 a.  a microorganism, esp a bacterium, that produces disease
 b.  a disease, esp a stomach infection, caused by a microorganism
4.  informal an obsessive idea, hobby, etc; craze (esp in the phrases get the bug, be bitten by the bug, the bug bites, etc)
5.  informal a person having such a craze; enthusiast
6.  informal (often plural) an error or fault, as in a machine or system, esp in a computer or computer program
7.  informal a concealed microphone used for recording conversations, as in spying
8.  (US) (in poker) a joker used as an ace or wild card to complete a straight or flush
 
vb , bugs, bugging, bugged
9.  (tr) to irritate; bother
10.  (tr) to conceal a microphone in (a room, etc)
11.  (US) (intr) (of eyes) to protrude
 
[C16: of uncertain origin; perhaps related to Old English budda beetle]

bug2 (bʌɡ)
 
n
obsolete an evil spirit or spectre; hobgoblin
 
[C14 bugge, perhaps from Middle Welsh bwg ghost. See also bugbear, bugaboo]

bug3 (bʌɡ)
 
vb
a past tense and past participle of big

Bug (Russian buk)
 
n
1.  Also called: Southern Bug a river in E Europe, rising in W Ukraine and flowing southeast to the Dnieper estuary and the Black Sea. Length: 853 km (530 miles)
2.  Also called: Western Bug a river in E Europe, rising in SW Ukraine and flowing northwest to the River Vistula in Poland, forming part of the border between Poland and Ukraine. Length: 724 km (450 miles)

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

bug
"insect," 1620s (earliest reference is to bedbugs), probably from M.E. bugge "something frightening, scarecrow" (late 14c.), a meaning obsolete except in bugbear (1570s) and bugaboo (q.v.); probably connected with Scot. bogill "goblin, bugbear,"
or obsolete Welsh bwg "ghost, goblin" (cf. Welsh bwgwl "threat," earlier "fear"). Cf. also bogey (1) and Ger. bögge, böggel-mann "goblin." Perhaps influenced in meaning by O.E. -budda used in compounds for "beetle" (cf. Low Ger. budde "louse, grub," M.L.G. buddech "thick, swollen"). Meaning "defect in a machine" (1889) may have been coined c.1878 by Thomas Edison (perhaps with the notion of an insect getting into the works). Meaning "person obsessed by an idea" (e.g. firebug) is from 1841. Sense of "microbe, germ" is from 1919. Bugs "crazy" is from c.1900.

bug
"to bulge," 1870s, perhaps from a humorous or dialect mispronunciation of bulge. The verb "to annoy, irritate" is first attested 1949, probably in allusion to insect pests, from bug (n.). Sense of "equip with a concealed microphone" is from 1919. Related: Bugged; bugging. Phrase
bug off is 1950s, perhaps from bugger off, which is chiefly British (by 1920s) but was picked up in U.S. Air Force slang in the Korean War.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

bug (bŭg)
n.

  1. A true bug, specifically one having a beaklike structure that allows piercing and sucking.

  2. An insect or similar organism, such as a centipede or an earwig.

  3. A disease-producing microorganism, such as a flu bug.

  4. The illness or disease so produced.

  5. A defect or difficulty, as in a system or design.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
bug   (bŭg)  Pronunciation Key 
  1. An insect belonging to the suborder Heteroptera. See more at true bug.

  2. An insect, spider, or similar organism. Not in scientific use.


Our Living Language  : The word bug is often used to refer to tiny creatures that crawl along, such as insects and even small animals that are not insects, such as spiders and millipedes. But for scientists the word has a much narrower meaning. In the strictest terms bugs are those insects that have mouthparts adapted for piercing and sucking. The mouthparts of these bugs are contained in a beak-shaped structure. Thus scientists would classify a louse but not a beetle or a cockroach as a bug. In fact, scientists often call lice and their relatives true bugs to distinguish them better from what everyone else calls "bugs."
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

bug definition


A generic term that describes a malfunction of undetermined origin in a computer or other electronic device.

Note: The term originated in the 1940s when the examination of a large computer revealed that an actual insect had landed on one of the circuits, shorting it out and shutting the machine down.
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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