Definition of bugaboo in English:



North American
  • An object of fear or alarm; a bugbear.

    • ‘On the ground at Italy's Bologna International Airport, I ran into the same old bugaboos that make travel back home such a hassle.’
    • ‘There are liable to be rocks, propellers, exhaust, slippery decks, cleats, and a host of other potential bugaboos that must be considered.’
    • ‘We don't want wrong-note anxiety to be the bugaboo.’
    • ‘This dilemma isn't confined to non-professional players; it has become a bugaboo for some of the top professionals on tour too.’
    • ‘Since 1975, landmines have killed over a million people, far outstripping the deaths caused by those well-publicized bugaboos, nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.’
    • ‘In fact, the entire notion of ‘scarcity’ is a bugaboo contrived by conservative economists to justify the distributional injustice of the capitalist system.’
    • ‘In the fast-emerging video direct marketing arena, this fact-versus-fiction scenario had been somewhat of an industry bugaboo until just a few years ago.’
    • ‘The two biggest bugaboos bedeviling these preeminent directors are commercialization and overcrowding.’
    • ‘Still, the bugaboos of data transparency and price fixing concern regulators.’
    • ‘Almost sixty years later, Japanese militarism remains the great bugaboo of East Asian politics.’
    • ‘One of the main bugaboos that Americans have about national healthcare is the fear that it means long waiting times for office visits and elective surgery.’
    • ‘An extremely long hitter with a fabled touch around the greens, Mickelson and Smith continue to work on his chief bugaboo: accuracy off the tee.’
    • ‘Keys have always been my bugaboo, but when my youngest daughter Addy was a toddler, she usually solved my dilemma.’
    • ‘On a related matter, lack of socialization is the bugaboo of the anti-homeschooler.’
    • ‘These bugaboos, however, can be corrected in time with patient example and education.’
    • ‘They are still America's greatest and most enduring bugaboos.’
    • ‘By doing so, engineers were able to eliminate or reduce many of the rotary's exhaust-related bugaboos, which primarily were related to emissions and fuel economy.’
    • ‘But monotony - the bugaboo of any training program - had reared its ugly head in my direction.’
    • ‘Even coal, the bugaboo of climate change, would make a better husband for water, saving billions of gallons of waterflow yearly, even after consuming more water for sulfur removal.’
    • ‘The Endangered Species Act has long been a bugaboo for anti-environmental lawmakers, who have unsuccessfully attacked it from every imaginable direction.’
    pet hate, hate, bane, irritant, irritation, dislike, anathema, aversion, vexation, thorn in one's flesh, thorn in one's side, bane of one's life
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Mid 18th century: probably of Celtic origin and related to Welsh bwci bo bogey, the Devil bwci hobgoblin and Cornish bucca.