Definition of bugbear in English:

bugbear

Line breaks: bug|bear
Pronunciation: /ˈbʌgbɛː
 
/

noun

  • 2 archaic An imaginary being invoked to frighten children, typically a sort of hobgoblin supposed to devour them.
    More example sentences
    • One of these, Francis Moore, wrote: ‘A dreadful bugbear to the women is called Mumbo Jumbo, which keeps the women in awe.’
    • Mormo was a female spectre, with which the Greeks used to frighten little children. Mormo was one of the same class of bugbears as Empusa and Lamia.
    • Mermaids are supposed to abound in the ponds and ditches in this neighbourhood. Careful mothers use them as bugbears to prevent little children from going too near the water.

Origin

late 16th century: probably from obsolete bug 'bogey' (of unknown origin) + bear2.

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