bo·​gey·​man ˈbu̇-gē-ˌman How to pronounce bogeyman (audio)
ˈbu̇-gər- How to pronounce bogeyman (audio)
variants or less commonly bogyman
: a monstrous imaginary figure used in threatening children
: 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 Although the GOP has long been the home of big business, many observers overlook the frequency with which Trump targeted business leaders as a big, bad bogeyman to advance populist policies. Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, TIME, 29 May 2024 For many in Washington, China is the new foreign policy bogeyman—an existential threat that justifies higher and higher Pentagon budgets. Bernie Sanders, Foreign Affairs, 18 Mar. 2024 In the second half of the past decade, a new political bogeyman appeared on the global scene: the illiberal democrat. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, 31 Jan. 2024 Related article How empty office space became the new bogeyman on Wall Street Regional banks were on high alert recently after New York Community Bancorp (NYCB) reported steeper-than-expected future losses on commercial real estate loans. Elisabeth Buchwald, CNN, 29 Feb. 2024 See all Example Sentences for bogeyman 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'bogeyman.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1890, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of bogeyman was in 1890

Dictionary Entries Near bogeyman

Cite this Entry

“Bogeyman.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


bo·​gey·​man ˈbu̇g-ē-ˌman How to pronounce bogeyman (audio) ˈbō-gē- How to pronounce bogeyman (audio)
: an imaginary monster used in threatening children
: a terrifying or dreaded person or thing

More from Merriam-Webster on bogeyman

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