Any real or imaginary figure used by adults as a threat to coerce children into good behaviour is a bogeyman - often the final function of a belief that adults no longer share. This form of discipline was common until recently, and the figures invoked could be male or female, monstrous or natural, and could range from the Devil to the local doctor or policeman. The threat usually was that the creature would carry the child away, and perhaps eat it, either to punish naughtiness in general or because the child has gone too close to a dangerous spot, stayed out after dark, gone into an orchard to steal fruit, etc. Dickens shows a nursemaid ordering a little girl to go to sleep: 'My goodness gracious me, Miss Floy, you naughty, sinful child, if you don't shut your eyes this minute, I'll call in them hobgoblins that lives in the cock-loft to come and eat you up alive' (Dombey and Son, chapter 5).

A Dictionary of English folklore. . 2014.

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  • Bogeyman — Bo gey*man, n.; pl. {Bogeymen}. A goblin; a bugbear; a {bogey[1]}. This is the form used by parents to frighten children; as, if you don t eat your vegetables, the bogeyman will get you. Syn: bogey. [Webster 1913 Suppl.] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • bogeyman — (n.) 16c.; see BOGEY (Cf. bogey) (n.1) + MAN (Cf. man) (n.) …   Etymology dictionary

  • bogeyman — (also bogyman) ► NOUN ▪ an evil spirit …   English terms dictionary

  • bogeyman — [boog′ē man΄; ] also [ bō′gēman΄] n. pl. bogeymen [boog′ēmen΄] BOOGEYMAN …   English World dictionary

  • Bogeyman — For other uses, see Bogeyman (disambiguation). Goya s Here Comes the Bogey Man (Aquí viene el Coco) c.1797 A bogeyman (also spelled bogieman, boogeyman or boogieman) is an amorphous imaginary …   Wikipedia

  • bogeyman — [[t]bo͟ʊgimæn[/t]] bogeymen (The spellings bogey man, and in American English boogeyman are also used.) 1) N COUNT: usu with supp (disapproval) A bogeyman is someone whose ideas or actions are disapproved of by some people, and who is described… …   English dictionary

  • bogeyman — UK [ˈbəʊɡɪˌmæn] / US [ˈboʊɡɪˌmæn] / US [ˈbʊɡɪˌmæn] noun [countable] Word forms bogeyman : singular bogeyman plural bogeymen UK [ˈbəʊɡɪˌmen] / US [ˈboʊɡɪˌmen] / US [ˈbʊɡɪˌmen] 1) an imaginary evil creature used in stories for frightening children… …   English dictionary

  • bogeyman — bog|ey|man [ bougi,mæn, bugi,mæn ] (plural bog|ey|men [ bougi,men, bugi,men ] ) noun count 1. ) an imaginary evil creature used in stories to frighten children: The bogeyman s going to get you. 2. ) someone or something that people believe is bad …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • Bogeyman — Boogeyman Boog ey*man, Bogeyman Bo gey*man, n. Something frightful, as a specter; anything imaginary that causes needless fright; something used to excite needless fear; also, something really dangerous, or an imaginary monster, used to frighten… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • bogeyman — noun a) A menacing, ghost like monster in childrens stories. The alleged link between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda turned out to be a bogeyman. b) Any make believe threat, especially one used to intimidate or distract …   Wiktionary