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

Government confiscation of firearms has long been a bogeyman for many gun rights advocates—eliciting comparisons to Nazi Germany and other authoritarian regimes. Tara Law, Time, "Beto O'Rourke's Bold Statement on Gun Control: 'Hell Yes' He Wants to Take Your AR-15," 13 Sep. 2019 Despite the right’s bogeyman version of events or progressives’ savior dreams, in no telling of her story is Ford some fearless feminist crusader. Melissa Gira Grant, The New Republic, "What Christine Blasey Ford Said," 10 Sep. 2019 With an election year around the corner, the White House has tried to cast the Federal Reserve as a bogeyman. Matt Egan, CNN, "The White House says the Fed is the No. 1 problem facing the economy. That's not true," 4 Sep. 2019 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

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

8 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

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

What made you want to look up bogeyman? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a topic to which one constantly reverts

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