Definition of bug in English:


Line breaks: bug
Pronunciation: /bʌg


  • 3 (also true bug) Entomology An insect of a large order distinguished by having mouthparts that are modified for piercing and sucking.
    More example sentences
    • The insect families that scientists lump together as aphids belong to the huge order of true bugs, which typically deploy sucking mouthparts much like built-in soda straws.
    • The Permian saw the appearance of stoneflies, true bugs, beetles, and caddisflies, among other groups.
    • Worldwide, stilt bugs are a relatively small group of unusual hemipterans, or true bugs, in the family Berytidae.
  • 4A concealed miniature microphone, used for secret eavesdropping or recording: they cleaned out the bugs and wiretaps
    More example sentences
    • That, according to sources, is a strong indication that it was the FBI's bug and they were the ones that put it there in the first place.
    • Other figures, including LBJ and Martin Luther King are observed vicariously through wire taps or electronic bugs.
    • He only had the director's word for it that the room was clean of bugs.
    listening device, hidden microphone, receiver, transmitter, wire, wiretap, phone tap, tap
    informal bugging device
  • 5An error in a computer program or system: a custom program we used developed a bug
    More example sentences
    • Worse, it is theoretically impossible to determine whether computer systems are free from programming bugs or nefarious code.
    • The game also plays host to a wide array of gameplay bugs and glitches.
    • Well, applications are prone to all types of problems, bugs, and errors.
    fault, error, defect, flaw, imperfection, failing, breakdown; virus
    informal glitch, gremlin, snarl-up

verb (bugs, bugging, bugged)

[with object] Back to top  
  • 1Conceal a miniature microphone in (a room or telephone) in order to eavesdrop on or record someone’s conversations secretly: the telephones in the presidential palace were bugged
    More example sentences
    • The telephone was bugged, and most of the rooms had mini microphones hidden under furniture and behind pictures.
    • They enlisted the help of a wire-tapper to bug the star's telephone and bedroom.
    • Each capability seems innocuous, but a hidden cellphone with both features can silently and automatically answer calls, establishing a radio link for bugging a room.
  • 1.1Record or eavesdrop on (a conversation) using a concealed microphone: she fears that her conversations were bugged
    More example sentences
    • Short herself suspected her own conversations with him were bugged by spies, even while she was conducting them.
    • Fair enough security and all that but they, whoever they were, were just as likely to bug the office as to bug their phone calls.
    • He is suspected of having reported the bugged conversations to his superiors on a regular basis.
    record, tap, listen in on, eavesdrop on, spy on, overhear; wiretap, tap, monitor, phone-tap
    informal snoop on
  • 2 informal Annoy or bother (someone): a persistent reporter was bugging me
    More example sentences
    • But that's not what really bugs me about this whole thing.
    • I know neither of them would hurt me, but it bugs me.
    • The guy's evident discomfort was starting to bug him.

Phrasal verbs

bug off

North American informal Go away: I assumed you’d come to tell me to bug off
More example sentences
  • She politely told him to bug off and returned to the breakfast table to finish the comics.
  • Why couldn't I just have told Van to bug off and that I'm not interested in getting to know him?
  • I wanted to resolve things with Carter… but I wanted to tell him to bug off at the same time.

bug out

  • 1Leave quickly: if you see enemy troops, bug out
    More example sentences
    • Once there, he claimed purple hearts for every scratch, and bugged out as quickly as humanly possible.
    • Clearly, there's a whole lot going on inside the museum, but perhaps it's best that some doors stay closed: watching some of the action might just cause people to bug out.
    • It was only motherly intervention that convinced her to bug out.
  • 2North American informal Bulge outwards: men’s eyes bug out when she walks past
    More example sentences
    • I am also presently shopping around at the Buy and Sell webpage for a phone, and my eyes are bugging out at the prices.
    • Nath sucked down some flaming blue cocktail and his eyes bugged out.
    • I have printed it out so I can read it without my eyes bugging out.


early 17th century: of unknown origin. Current verb senses date from the early 20th century.

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