Definition of bogeyman in US English:


(also bogyman)


  • 1An imaginary evil spirit or being, used to frighten children.

    ‘with the blankets pulled over our heads to keep out the bogeyman’
    • ‘They cannot rise up like bogeymen to attack those who live and work nearby.’
    • ‘We invent bogeymen and angels to explain the inexplicable.’
    • ‘We have to bid farewell to our best friends - the giants, the fairies, Santa Claus and the bogeyman.’
    • ‘Telling grown-ups to ‘vote - or else the bogeymen will get you!’ was never likely to prove a winning ticket.’
    • ‘Just as small children project their fear of the dark on to an imaginary bogeyman, the protagonists of the Western economies lay their fears at the door of the Iraqi dictator.’
    • ‘Many kids are scared of monsters under the bed, ogres and bogeymen lurking in wardrobes and the cupboard under the stairs.’
    • ‘There are only about five actual bogeymen left in the world, and you're not in immediate danger from any of them.’
    • ‘Unlike vampires, killers in masks and other movieworld bogeymen, zombies have no real agenda of their own.’
    • ‘Allyson squeezed her eyes together tightly, trying to shove away the images of imaginary green bogeymen running through her blood, attacking her from within.’
    • ‘In communities where women had time to keep an eye out for each other's kids, for instance, mothers such as Sarah were not afraid to let their children out of their sight for fear of the bogeyman.’
    • ‘I felt isolated, even fearful of unknown bogeymen and demons.’
    • ‘Henry is gritty and terrifying because it's not based in aliens, zombies or fictional bogeymen - it's based on what may be living next door to us.’
    1. 1.1 A person or thing that is widely regarded as an object of fear.
      ‘nuclear power is the environmentalists' bogeyman’
      • ‘I don't like it when anyone tries to motivate me with bogeymen or a fear of some coming apocalypse.’
      • ‘For many in the green lobby, atomic power is the ultimate bogeyman, blighting landscapes and producing waste which is difficult to dispose of safely.’
      • ‘There is a tendency to reduce serious issues to an infantile contest between different shades of the politics of fear, as all sides deploy their pet bogeymen in an effort to scare us like children rather than treat us like thinking adults.’
      • ‘Fear of artificial inflation remains the biggest bogeyman.’
      • ‘Nonetheless, I want to constantly acknowledge that the risk of the slippery slope isn't just some bogeyman - it's a reflection of real processes that occur in human institutions.’
      • ‘Clearly our current spirit of neopatriotism cannot vanquish the old bogyman of racism in America.’
      • ‘Could it possibly be that rather than taking part in a reasoned debate on what is best for Waterford, there are people who would rather instill worry and fear by whispering in secret about non-existent bogeymen?’
      • ‘The old values of community are reaffirmed while progress is forever the bogeyman.’
      • ‘But today's report comparing property inflation with rises in wages suggests we are frightened of the wrong bogeyman.’
      • ‘It is being used as a bogeyman to ‘send messages’ that are even problematic for those of us who support civil liberties and economic development.’
      • ‘But some people really need to conquer their fear of this bogeyman that lurks in their psyches.’
      • ‘It's become an iconic canvas onto which an entire generation projected its fear of the Other, a 1960s bogeyman.’
      • ‘Let's get our bogeymen in perspective, please.’
      • ‘But the bogeymen of social disorder and destruction remain.’
      • ‘Lumping men together as one massive evil bogeyman is not constructive.’
      • ‘National heroes and despised bogeymen have been made to switch roles in the curricula as well as public sentiment; minor historical characters have been recalled donning heroic mantles.’
      • ‘The neurotic pictures and obsessive fears slowly began to fade; the ugly, ghostly bogeymen stopped appearing from dirty, ancient corners of the basement, tapping him on the side of his imagination to startle him.’
      • ‘It's the moment in which fear is no longer the bogeyman under your bed.’
      • ‘They certainly now have nothing to fear from bogeymen either.’