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 resort announced a new Halloween celebration this year inspired by Disney villains and hosted by Oogie Boogie, the gambling bogeyman at the center of Tim Burton’s 1993 animated musical dark fantasy. Claudia Harmata,, "It's That Time! Pumpkin Spice Beignets Have Returned to Disney World," 14 Aug. 2019 There is an obsession about the border and a bogeyman that doesn’t really exist. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, "Representative Veronica Escobar Speaks out About Gun Violence and El Paso," 5 Aug. 2019 But in the mid-century, polio was a medical bogeyman, ushering in a climate of hysteria. Alexander B. Joy, The Atlantic, "Candy Land Was Invented for Polio Wards," 28 July 2019 All of this, of course, has also earned them plenty of critics and made them prominent political bogeymen for Republicans. Jason Silverstein, CBS News, "Who is "the Squad"? What you need to know about Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, Pressley and Tlaib," 16 July 2019 Amazon was the only technology company name-checked in last night’s debate, underscoring how the e-commerce giant is emerging as a bogeyman for 2020 Democratic presidential candidates eager to challenge corporate power. Cat Zakrzewski, Washington Post, "The Technology 202: Amazon was the only tech giant called out on the debate stage," 27 June 2019 Nuclear war was the bogeyman of the era, and the second and third Sputnik launches proved that the USSR could put payloads equal to one (or more) warheads in space. Jamie Turner,, "11 things you might not know about Apollo 11 and the Space Race: Apollo 11 at 50," 17 July 2019 Russia has become synonymous with nefarious online meddling, to the point that any company—even a silly filter app—becomes a bogeyman. Brian Barrett, WIRED, "Think FaceApp Is Scary? Wait Till You Hear About Facebook," 17 July 2019 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

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

27 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for bogeyman

The first known use of bogeyman was in 1890

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More Definitions for bogeyman



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

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