bogeyman

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bo·gey·man / ˈboŏgēˌman; ˈbō-/ (also boo·gey·man, bo·gy·man) • n. (pl. -men) (usu. the bogeyman) an imaginary evil spirit, referred to typically to frighten children: with the blankets pulled over our heads to keep out the bogeyman. ∎  a person or thing that is widely regarded as an object of fear: the violent criminal has replaced the communist as the bogeyman.