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 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, "The Countercultural Sound of the 2020s," 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, "Vaccines and stimulus boost US consumer sentiment," 12 Mar. 2021 The idea of gun-toting Euro-soldiers was more a Eurosceptic bogeyman than a serious scheme. The Economist, "New kings of the wild frontier Frontex, the EU’s border force, swells in size," 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, "The Private Sector’s COVID-Era Triumph," 11 Jan. 2021 But with Joe Biden soon to take over the White House, Europe has lost its unifying bogeyman. Tom Mctague, The Atlantic, "Donald Trump’s Defeat Costs Europe Its Bogeyman," 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, "America Loves to Hate Sweatpants," 8 Dec. 2020 The next administration must avoid seeing China as the bogeyman behind every corner. CNN, "How Biden should confront China," 6 Dec. 2020 Latinos at the Pence event said their support for Trump stemmed from a love of law and order and a hatred of socialism, which every speaker that afternoon conjured up like a bogeyman. Brittny Mejia, Anchorage Daily News, "Florida is the ultimate Latino melting pot, and these voters could decide the election," 1 Nov. 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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Time Traveler for bogeyman

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The first known use of bogeyman was in 1890

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Statistics for bogeyman

Last Updated

11 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Bogeyman.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Apr. 2021.

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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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