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bugaboo (noun) a source of needless fear; a bugbear.
Something that we are afraid of, though it is not really fearful, is a bugaboo. 'Bugbear' is another word for it. Anything which scares children because they do not understand it is a bugaboo. 'Mathematics is Anthony's bugaboo.' This means that Anthony thinks mathematics is too difficult to understand, and so, out of such a fear, he avoids it.
- The middle class person is always haunted by the bugaboo of the loss of prestige, to maintain which they spend more money than they can afford.
- The threat of a nuclear war is real, though some people, thinking that no nation would risk starting a nuclear war, dismiss it as a bugaboo.