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A Bugbear is a legendary creature or type of hobgoblin comparable to the bogeyman (or bugaboo), and other creatures of folklore, all of which were historically used in some cultures to frighten disobedient children.[1]


Its name is derived from a Middle English word "bugge" (a frightening thing), or perhaps the old Welsh word bwg (evil spirit or goblin), [2] or old Scots "bogill" (goblin), and has cognates in German "bögge" or "böggel-mann" (goblin), and most probably also English "bugaboo" and "bogey-man".

In medieval England, the Bugbear was depicted as a creepy bear that lurked in the woods to scare children. It was described in this manner in an English translation of a 1565 Italian play The Buggbear.[2]

In a modern context, the term bugbear serves as a metaphor for something which is annoying or irritating.[1] It may also mean pet peeve.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b J. Simpson, E. Weiner (eds), ed. (1989). "Raven". Oxford English Dictionary (2nd edition ed.). Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 0-19-861186-2. 
  2. ^ a b Briggs, Katherine M. (1976). A Dictionary of Fairies. Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin. p. 52. ISBN 0-14-004753-0. 
  3. ^ merriam-webster.com