Word of the Day
Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Definitions for bugbear

  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.

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Citations for bugbear
Capital is a bugbear; and it is talked about by those who have it, -- and by some that have no so much of it neither, -- for the sake of putting down competition, and keeping the market to themselves. Anthony Trollope, The Struggles of Brown, Jones, and Robinson, 1862
Now, while we were employed bracing round the yards, whispering Jarl must needs pester me again with his confounded suspicions of goblins on board. He swore by the main-mast, that when the fore-yard swung round, he had heard a half-stifled groan from that quarter; as if one of his bugbears had been getting its aerial legs jammed. Herman Melville, Mardi, and a Voyage Thither, 1849
Origin of bugbear
Bugbear blends an old sense of the word bug, "a bogy or hobgoblin," with the term bear, referring to the animal form that this folkloric goblin took. It entered English in the late 1500s.