Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Bugbear.

E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
A scarecrow. Bug is the Welsh bwg, a hobgoblin, called in Russia buka. Spenser says, “A ghastly bug doth greatly them affear” (book ii. canto 3); and Hamlet has “bugs and goblins” (v. 2).   1
“Warwick was a bug that feared us all.”
Shakespeare: 3 Henry IV., v. 3.
“To the world no bug bear is so great
As want of figure and a small estate.”
Pope: Satires, iii. 67–68.
   The latter half of this word is somewhat doubtful. The Welsh bár = ire, fury, wrath, whence barog, spiteful, seems probable.   2



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