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 Tim Mak’s Misfire, which traces a set of crises at the National Rifle Association, shows how the decline of the gun rights organization deprived the left of its most valuable bogeyman. Jake Bittle, The New Republic, 9 June 2022 For some people, Leatherface is their ultimate bogeyman. Brian Davids, The Hollywood Reporter, 22 Feb. 2022 Satanism might have been a bogeyman of the eighties, but Sparks’s other subjects cannot be similarly dismissed. Casey Cep, The New Yorker, 25 July 2022 In a recent conversation with THR, Yarkin also discusses her worst fears including her childhood bogeyman. Brian Davids, The Hollywood Reporter, 22 Feb. 2022 Soros has been somewhat of a bogeyman for the Republican Party. Bill Bowden, Arkansas Online, 30 Apr. 2022 At night, the cabin is illuminated by red ambient lighting for a vibe that's either sporty or spooky, likely depending on whether or not passengers still believe in the bogeyman or not. Eric Stafford, Car and Driver, 10 May 2022 His attempt to use Russian President Vladimir Putin as an inflationary bogeyman for shocking oil markets is falling flat. The Week Staff, The Week, 26 Mar. 2022 Conservative leaders depicted the idea as a democracy-killing bogeyman. Leslie Gornstein, CBS News, 1 Apr. 2021 See More

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.

First Known Use of bogeyman

1890, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of bogeyman was in 1890

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Last Updated

26 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Bogeyman.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Oct. 2022.

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