Something frightful, as a specter; anything imaginary that causes needless fright; something used to excite needless fear; also, something really dangerous, used to frighten children, etc.
- An object of obsessive, usually exaggerated fear or anxiety: "Boredom, laziness and failure . . . These bugaboos, magnified by imagination, keep [the workaholic] running” ( Dun's Review).
- A recurring or persistent problem: "the bugaboos that have plagued vision systems: high price and slow throughput” ( Lawrence A. Goshorn).