\ \ [16] Early references to bugbear suggest that it was a sort of bug – ‘frightening creature’ – conjured up to frighten naughty children. It is usually assumed that the second element of the word simply represents the animal ‘bear’, and that the frightening creature was represented as being in the shape of a bear.
\ \ The modern sense ‘source of annoyance’ developed in the late 19th century.

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

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  • Bugbear — Bug bear , n. Same as {Bugaboo}. a. Causing needless fright. Locke. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Bugbear — Bug bear , v. t. To alarm with idle phantoms. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • bugbear — 1580s, a sort of demon in the form of a bear that eats small children, also object of dread (whether real or not), from BUG (Cf. bug) (n.) + BEAR (Cf. bear) (n.) …   Etymology dictionary

  • bugbear — bête noire, *abomination, anathema …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • bugbear — ► NOUN ▪ a cause of anxiety or irritation. ORIGIN probably from the obsolete bug evil spirit + BEAR(Cf. ↑bear) …   English terms dictionary

  • bugbear — [bug′ber΄] n. [ BUG2 + BEAR2] 1. an imaginary hobgoblin or terror used to frighten children into good conduct 2. anything causing seemingly needless or excessive fear or anxiety …   English World dictionary

  • Bugbear — A bugbear, also called a boogerbear , is a legendary creature comparable to the bogeyman, bogey, bugaboo, hobgoblin and other creatures of folklore, all of which were historically used in some cultures to frighten disobedient children. In… …   Wikipedia

  • bugbear — UK [ˈbʌɡˌbeə(r)] / US [ˈbʌɡˌber] noun [countable] Word forms bugbear : singular bugbear plural bugbears something that keeps annoying or worrying you Traffic congestion is still the biggest bugbear for motorists …   English dictionary

  • Bugbear — Bugaboo Bug a*boo , Bugbear Bug bear , n. [See {Bug}.] Something frightful, as a specter; anything imaginary that causes needless fright; something used to excite needless fear; also, something really dangerous, or an imaginary monster, used to… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • bugbear — [[t]bʌ̱gbeə(r)[/t]] bugbears N COUNT Something or someone that is your bugbear worries or upsets you. Money is my biggest bugbear …   English dictionary

  • bugbear — bug|bear [ˈbʌgbeə US ber] n [Date: 1500 1600; Origin: Probably from bug evil spirit ( BUG1) + BEAR21] something that makes people feel annoyed or worried ▪ Paperwork is our worst bugbear …   Dictionary of contemporary English

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