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 The critical race theory is yet another tool in the, in the, in the racial tribal bogeyman’s toolbox to drive and inflame tribalism, which Republicans think helps them in, in elections. NBC News, 20 June 2021 That’s a hyperpop bogeyman as potent as the yuppie was for hardcore punk, or as the senator’s son was for the Woodstock crowd. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, 14 Feb. 2021 This dynamic has been the bogeyman of Wall Street in the past several weeks, pushing bond yields higher and periodically weighing on stocks. Anneken Tappe, CNN, 12 Mar. 2021 The idea of gun-toting Euro-soldiers was more a Eurosceptic bogeyman than a serious scheme. The Economist, 28 Feb. 2021 Perhaps those Hollywood writers who primed us to believe the opposite should find some other bogeyman to drive their plots. Nicholas Kerr, National Review, 11 Jan. 2021 But with Joe Biden soon to take over the White House, Europe has lost its unifying bogeyman. Tom Mctague, The Atlantic, 11 Nov. 2020 With their body-hiding heft and embrace of comfort over all, sweatpants have endured as the bogeyman of the modern American wardrobe, even during a pandemic. Amanda Mull, The Atlantic, 8 Dec. 2020 The next administration must avoid seeing China as the bogeyman behind every corner. CNN, 6 Dec. 2020

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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The first known use of bogeyman was in 1890

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Last Updated

4 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Bogeyman.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Jul. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on bogeyman

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bogeyman


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