- an imaginary hobgoblin or terror used to frighten children into good conduct
- anything causing seemingly needless or excessive fear or anxiety
Origin of bugbearbug + bear
- A cause of fear, anxiety, or irritation: Overcrowding is often a bugbear for train commuters.
- A difficult or persistent problem: “One of the major bugbears of traditional AI is the difficulty of programming computers to recognize that different but similar objects are instances of the same type of thing” ( Jack Copeland )
- A fearsome imaginary creature, especially one evoked to frighten children.
Origin of bugbearObsolete bug hobgoblin ( from Middle English bugge ) ( perhaps from Welsh bwg ) bear 2