AskDefine | Define bugbear

Dictionary Definition



1 an imaginary monster used to frighten children [syn: bogeyman, bugaboo, boogeyman, booger]
2 an object of dread or apprehension; "Germany was always a bugbear for France"; "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds"--Ralph Waldo Emerson [syn: hobgoblin]

User Contributed Dictionary


Alternative spellings


  1. An ongoing problem; a recurring obstacle or adversity.
  2. A source of dread; resentment; or irritation.
  3. An imaginary creature meant to inspire fear in children.

Extensive Definition

For the Finnish video game studio, see Bugbear Entertainment.
For the Dungeons & Dragons'' creature, see Bugbear (Dungeons & Dragons)
A bugbear is a legendary creature comparable to the bogeyman, bogey, bugaboo, hobgoblin and other creatures of folklore, all of which were historically used in some cultures to frighten disobedient children. In medieval England, for instance, the Bugbear was a creepy and gigantic bear that lurked in the woods; children were warned not to stray too far from home or misbehave, for "the Bugbear will get you".
In a modern context, the term bugbear serves as a metaphor for something which is annoying or irritating. According to Webster's Dictionary, a bugbear is "an imaginary goblin or spectre used to excite fear", "an object or source of dread", or "a continuing source of irritation".

Variations (other uses)

  • In the role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons, bugbears are the largest of the various goblinoid races (the others being goblins, hobgoblins, and other, more obscure ones such as forest-kith goblins and varags). They are vaguely bearish in appearance, being hairy and strong, but primarily just larger versions of the smaller, moderately more civilized compatriots.
  • In the role-playing game Kingdom of Loathing, bugbears are bipedal creatures that resemble small bears with a "w" for a mouth. Confusingly, actual bears are known as 'bars' (mimicking the speech of some American Midwestern and Southern dialects).
  • Bugbear is also the name of a monster in the Nintendo DS game Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow. In the game it is portrayed as a levitating eyeball with a long tail and a pair of spikes coming out of either end of the eyeball. The spikes and the tail both generate electricity. In actuality, the creature's name was mistransliterated from backbeard, a different entity which it much more closely resembles. It is a pallete swap of the Peeping Eye.
  • In the MMORPG Final Fantasy XI, bugbears are a creation of the goblins through eugenics. Significantly larger and stronger than goblins, they also have enhanced senses that includes multiple eyes. They are implied to be second-class citizens that are relegated the jobs that require brute strength. They also appear in other Final Fantasy games as normal enamies.
  • In the Harry Potter world, bugbears are blood-sucking bears.
  • In the online game DragonFable, bugbears are large greenish bears with 4 spines in their backs. They are guards in Cysero's tower.
  • The Bugbear computer worm (also known as Tanatos.A) caused widespread infections on the Internet during the first half of 2002.
  • A species belonging to the kingdom of ursa majoris who subsides primarily on bugs and earthworms. Habitat is Azusa California.
bugbear in German: Schrat
bugbear in Japanese: バグベア
bugbear in Russian: Жупел

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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