bug

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See also: büg, Bug, búg, bůg, and buug

English[edit]

A green shield bug (Palomena prasina) in Budapest, Hungary. It is an insect of the order Hemiptera, and so is one of the "true bugs".

Etymology[edit]

First attested in this form around 1620 (referring to a bedbug), from earlier bugge (beetle), a conflation of two words:

  1. Middle English bugge (scarecrow, hobgoblin), from Proto-Germanic *bugja- (swollen up, thick), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰew-, *bu- (to swell)[1] (compare Norwegian bugge (big man), dialectal Low German Bögge (goblin”, “snot)). Or, from a word related to buck and originally referring to a goat-shaped specter.
  2. Middle English budde (beetle), from Old English budda (see sċearnbudda (dung beetle)), from Proto-Germanic *buddô, *buzdô, from the same ultimate source as above (compare Low German Budde (louse, grub), Norwegian budda (newborn domestic animal)). More at bud.

The term is used to refer to technical errors and problems at least as early as the 19th century, predating the commonly known story of a moth being caught in a computer.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • enPR: bŭg, IPA(key): /bʌɡ/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ʌɡ
  • Hyphenation: bug

Noun[edit]

bug (plural bugs)

  1. (entomology) An insect of the order Hemiptera (the “true bugs”).
  2. Any of various species of marine or freshwater crustaceans; e.g. a Moreton Bay bug, mudbug.
    • 2021 February 1, The Road Ahead, page 39, column 2:
      Bugs, oysters, prawns and crabs [] are plated up on the decks of four side-by-side trawlers bobbing on the calm waters of Trinity Inlet.
  3. (informal) Any insect, arachnid, or other terrestrial arthropod that is a pest.
    These flies are a bother. I’ll get some bug spray and kill them.
  4. (US) Any insect, arachnid, myriapod or entognath.
  5. (Britain, obsolete, specifically) A bedbug.
    • 1874, Henry Sampson, A history of advertising (page 278)
      Speaking of advertising changes of name, a title by which those lodging-house pests, bugs, are now often known, that of Norfolk Howards, is derived from an advertisement in which one Ephraim Bug avowed his intention of being for the future known as Norfolk Howard.
  6. (chiefly computing and engineering jargon) A problem that needs fixing.
    Synonyms: defect, glitch
    The software bug led the computer to calculate 2 plus 2 as 3.
    • 1878, Thomas P. Hughes, quoting Thomas Edison, Edison to Puskas, 13 November 1878, Edison papers, quoted in American Genesis: A History of the American Genius for Invention, Edison National Laboratory, U.S. National Park Service, West Orange, N.J.: Penguin Books, published 1989, →ISBN, page 75:
      I have the right principle and am on the right track, but time, hard work and some good luck are necessary too. It has been just so in all of my inventions. The first step is an intuition, and comes with a burst, then difficulties arise — this thing gives out and [it is] then that "Bugs" — as such little faults and difficulties are called — show themselves and months of intense watching, study and labor are requisite before commercial success or failure is certainly reached.
    • 1968 April 1, Popular Mechanics:
      A... leading aluminum producer claims it has worked all the bugs out of building and servicing aluminum radiators, says it hopes to have a large chunk of the radiator market by the early nineteen seventies.
  7. A contagious illness, or a bacterium or virus causing it.
    He’s got the flu bug.
  8. (informal) An enthusiasm for something; an obsession.
    I caught the skiing bug while staying in the Alps.
  9. (informal) A keen enthusiast or hobbyist.
    • 1961, Kiplinger's Personal Finance (volume 15, number 12, page 34)
      Incidentally, the camera manufacturers have had a new worry—that they might "kill off the hobby," as U.S. Camera magazine put it recently—by automating to the point that real camera bugs would feel no challenge.
  10. A concealed electronic eavesdropping or intercept device.
    We installed a bug in her telephone.
  11. A small and usually invisible file (traditionally a single-pixel image) on a World Wide Web page, primarily used to track users.
    He suspected the image was a Web bug used for determining who was visiting the site.
  12. (broadcasting) A small, usually transparent or translucent image placed in a corner of a television program to identify the broadcasting network or cable channel.
    Channel 4's bug distracted Jim from his favorite show.
  13. (aviation) A manually positioned marker in flight instruments.
    • 2004, Flying Magazine (volume 131, number 10, page 10)
      You look up the proper speed for the phase of flight, set the reminder bug, and then literally forget the speed. You don't read the airspeed number, you fly to the bug.
  14. A semi-automated telegraph key.
    • 1938, Paul Gallico, Farewell to Sport, page 257:
      At this point your telegraph operator, sitting at your right, goes "Ticky-tick-tickety-de-tick-tick," with his bug, as he calls his transmitter, and looks at you expectantly.
    • 1942, Arthur Reinhold Nilson, Radio Code Manual, page 134:
      As far as the dashes are concerned, the bug is the same in operation as any regular key would be if it were turned up on edge instead of sitting flat on the desk.
    • 1986, E. L. Doctorow, World's Fair, page 282:
      I was a very good radio operator. I bought my own bug. That's what the telegraph key in its modern form was called. It was semiautomatic.
  15. (obsolete) Hobgoblin, scarecrow; anything that terrifies. [late 14th c.–early 17th. c]
    Synonyms: bog, bogey, bogle, boggle, boggard, bugbear
  16. (chiefly LGBT, "the bug") HIV.
    • 2019, Tora Holmberg, Annika Jonsson, Fredrik Palm, Death Matters: Cultural Sociology of Mortal Life, Springer (→ISBN), page 130:
      The arguably most debated bareback practice that came to attract attention early on (and still does) was that of “bug chasing,” in which HIV-negative men (bug chasers) actively seek out sex with HIV-positive men (gift givers).
  17. (poker) A limited form of wild card in some variants of poker.
  18. (paleontology, slang) A trilobite.
    • 2007, Kirk Johnson, Cruisin' the Fossil Freeway, p. 174:
      We asked Harris if he had any recommendations about seeing the famous trilobite digs. He said we should just drive out to his claim in the Wheeler Quadrangle, and it was just fine with him if we dug a few bugs.
  19. (petroleum industry, slang, dated) Synonym of oil bug
    • July 1933, Popular Science:
      Now, only three years later, most of the major oil companies maintain staffs of these men who examine cores, classify the various types of "bugs," or foraminifera, and make charts showing the depths at which each of the hundreds of types is found.
  20. (slang, US, horse-racing) An asterisk denoting an apprentice jockey's weight allowance.
    • 1999, Anita Scialli, Inside Track 1999 (page 62)
      The “bugs” are the asterisks next to the apprentice's name. One bug is a five-pound allowance, two bugs equal seven pounds, and three bugs equal ten pounds.
  21. (slang, US, horse-racing, by extension) A young apprentice jockey.
    Synonym: bug boy
  22. (printing) Synonym of union bug
  23. (gambling, slang) A small piece of metal used in a slot machine to block certain winning combinations.
    • 1961, John Scarne, Complete Guide to Gambling (page 394)
      Because many illegal slot-machine operators here and abroad do not like to give the slot-machine player even one chance to hit the jackpot or the big bonus, they make use of a "bug." This is a small, flat half-circle of iron about an inch long, which looks something like a bug.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Adjectives often applied to “bug”: major, minor, serious, critical, nasty, annoying, important, strange, stupid, flying, silly.

Synonyms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Verb[edit]

bug (third-person singular simple present bugs, present participle bugging, simple past and past participle bugged)

  1. (informal, transitive) To annoy.
    Don’t bug me, I’m busy!
  2. (informal, intransitive) To act suspiciously or irrationally, especially in a way that annoys others.
    I'm worried about Wallace. He's been buggin' all week.
  3. (transitive) To install an electronic listening device or devices in.
    We need to know what’s going on. We’ll bug his house.

Synonyms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Pokorny, Julius (1959) Indogermanisches etymologisches Wörterbuch [Indo-European Etymological Dictionary] (in German), Bern, München: Francke Verlag, page 98-102

Further reading[edit]

Anagrams[edit]


Catalan[edit]

Etymology[edit]

English bug

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

bug m (plural bugs)

  1. (computing) bug
    Synonyms: error, defecte

Danish[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Old Norse búkr, from Proto-Germanic *būkaz, cognate wtih Norwegian, Swedish buk, German Bauch, Dutch buik.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /buːˀɣ/, [ˈb̥uˀ]

Noun[edit]

bug c (singular definite bugen, plural indefinite buge)

  1. belly (the lower part the body of an animal or, by analogy, an aircraft)
  2. abdomen, abdominal cavity (the lower inner part of a human body)
    Synonym: mave
  3. (informal) belly, paunch (a large protruding belly)
    Synonyms: mave, vom

Inflection[edit]


Dutch[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Borrowed from English bug.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /bʏɡ/, /bɑɡ/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: bug

Noun[edit]

bug m (plural bugs)

  1. (computing) A bug (a software problem).

French[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

English bug

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

bug m (plural bugs)

  1. (slang) bug (problem, especially in computing)

Derived terms[edit]


Karipúna Creole French[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From French bougre (chap, guy)

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

bug

  1. boy (young male human)

References[edit]

  • 1987, Alfred W. Tobler, Dicionário Crioulo Karipúna/Português Português/Crioulo Karípúna, Summer Institute of Linguistics, page 5.

Portuguese[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Unadapted borrowing from English bug.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • (Brazil) IPA(key): /ˈbɐɡ/, /ˈbɐ.ɡi/, /ˈbuɡ/, /ˈbu.ɡi/

Noun[edit]

bug m (plural bugs)

  1. (computing) bug (error in a program’s functioning)
    Synonyms: defeito, falha, erro
  2. (Brazil, slang) anything causing unusual behaviour

Derived terms[edit]


Spanish[edit]

Etymology[edit]

English bug

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /baɡ/, /boɡ/, /buɡ/

Noun[edit]

bug m (plural bugs)

  1. (computing) bug
    Synonyms: fallo, defecto