bo·​gey·​man | \ ˈbu̇-gē-ˌman How to pronounce bogeyman (audio) , ˈbō-, ˈbü-, ˈbu̇-gər- How to pronounce bogeyman (audio) \
variants: or less commonly bogyman

Definition of bogeyman

1 : a monstrous imaginary figure used in threatening children
2 : a terrifying or dreaded person or thing : bugbear

Examples of bogeyman in a Sentence

My aunt used to say to my sister and me, “The bogeyman will get you if you're bad.” a politician who is the familiar bogeyman of conservatives

Recent Examples on the Web

But transforming gangs into national bogeymen proved politically successful, helping ARENA hold on to the presidency in the next election. Daniel Castro, Harper's magazine, "The Truce," 10 June 2019 The Koch network has been a bogeyman on the left and its backing in a primary may not be as helpful as Koch strategists hope. Philip Elliott, Time, "Coming Soon to a Democratic Primary: Candidates Backed By Charles Koch," 7 June 2019 The coping mechanism of turning organizations like the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) into bogeymen of sorts also resonated with Greisa Martínez Rosas, United We Dream's deputy executive director. Ella Cerón, Teen Vogue, "For Latinx-American Kids, Fear of La Migra Has Always Existed," 3 July 2018 The rhetorical overkill used to describe a mediocre but well-intentioned presidency was so over-the-top it was parodied in a famous Simpsons bit: Carter was a Republican bogeyman in 1988, and when Bill Clinton came along. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Poll: Barack Obama Was the Greatest President of Our Lifetime," 11 July 2018 The cartel has often been a bogeyman for U.S. politicians since the first oil crisis in 1973. Javier Blas,, "OPEC Faces a Bigger Problem in Washington Than Trump's Tweets," 19 June 2018 The financing is meant to help those countries continue to invest in anti-malarial drugs, insecticide-laced bed nets, and better clinical diagnostics, even as Zika and Dengue have become the bigger public health bogeyman. Megan Molteni, WIRED, "How ‘Self-Limiting’ Mosquitos Can Help Eradicate Malaria," 21 June 2018 The fact is that Amazon is the bogeyman that can come at you in three to five years. Laura Stevens, WSJ, "‘You’re Stupid if You Don’t Get Scared’: When Amazon Goes From Partner to Rival," 1 June 2018 For such a Washington bogeyman to play that heroic role would be extraordinary. The Economist, "John Bolton, the world’s hope," 31 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bogeyman.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of bogeyman

1890, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Dictionary Entries near bogeyman

bog down

bog earth




bog garden


Statistics for bogeyman

Last Updated

18 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for bogeyman

The first known use of bogeyman was in 1890

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English Language Learners Definition of bogeyman

: an imaginary monster that is used to frighten children
: a person who is hated or feared by a group of people

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with bogeyman

Spanish Central: Translation of bogeyman

Comments on bogeyman

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to form ideas or theories about something

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