Synonyms for bug

Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.


He felt as if he were a June bug buzzing helplessly at the end of a string.

That girl with the dark eyes might not have looked at me as if I were a worm or a June bug.

He gives it out that he's goin' to prance over to Red Dog an' lay for the Bug.

“Guess you gone plumb ‘bug,’ Bill,” he said, with an amiable grin.

I hide the box of bug powder when I hear two other creeps come running.

As the "bug" light caught her face, Roger saw that it was Charley.

Roger did the milking and the other chores, by the light of a "bug."

The Spider came, and there he found a cricket, a beetle, and a bug.

What bug in the new helium process might account for this delay?

Experimentally, he waved to the massed ranks of bug things as he passed them.


"insect," 1620s (earliest reference is to bedbugs), of unknown origin, probably but not certainly from or influenced by Middle English bugge "something frightening, scarecrow" (late 14c.), a meaning obsolete since the "insect" sense arose except in bugbear (1570s) and bugaboo (q.v.).

Probably connected with Scottish bogill "goblin, bugbear," or obsolete Welsh bwg "ghost, goblin" (cf. Welsh bwgwl "threat," earlier "fear," Middle Irish bocanách "supernatural being"). Some speculate that these words are from a root meaning "goat" (see buck (n.1)) and represent originally a goat-like spectre. Cf. also bogey (n.1) and German bögge, böggel-mann "goblin." Perhaps influenced in meaning by Old English -budda used in compounds for "beetle" (cf. Low German budde "louse, grub," Middle Low German buddech "thick, swollen").

Meaning "defect in a machine" (1889) may have been coined c.1878 by Thomas Edison (perhaps with the notion of an insect getting into the works). Meaning "person obsessed by an idea" (e.g. firebug) is from 1841, perhaps from notion of persistence. Sense of "microbe, germ" is from 1919. Bugs "crazy" is from c.1900. Bug juice as a slang name for drink is from 1869, originally "bad whiskey." The 1811 slang dictionary has bug-hunter "an upholsterer." Bug-word "word or words meant to irritate and vex" is from 1560s.



nounperson who holds someone in high regard
Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.