See also: bug-bear
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈbʌɡ.bɛə(ɹ)/, /ˈbʌɡ.bɛː(ɹ)/, enPR: ˈbŭg-bâr
- (General American) IPA(key): /ˈbʌɡ.bɛɚ/, enPR: ˈbŭg-bär
bugbear (plural bugbears)
- An ongoing problem; a recurring obstacle or adversity.
- A source of dread; resentment; or irritation. [from late 16th c.]
- Synonym: pet peeve
- 1738, Alexander Pope, Epistle I of the First Book of Horace; to Lord Bolingbroke
- But, to the world no bugbear is so great
- As want of figure and a small estate.
- 1841, Dickens, The Old Curiosity Shop, chapter 3
- What have I done to be made a bugbear of, and to be shunned and dreaded as if I brought the plague?
- (archaic) An imaginary creature meant to inspire fear in children.
- Synonym: goblin
- 1900, Carl Schurz, For Truth, Justice and Liberty:
- The partisans of the Administration object to the word “imperialism,” calling it a mere bugbear having no real existence.
source of dread, resentment or irritation