bete noire

< /ˌbeɪt ˈnwɑrz; French bɛt ˈnwar/.

  1. a person or thing especially disliked or dreaded; bane; bugbear.

noun plural bêtes noires (bɛt nwar)

  1. a person or thing that one particularly dislikes or dreads

“insufferable person,” 1844, from French bête noire “personal aversion,” as an adjective, “stupid, foolish;” literally “the black beast.”

Something or someone a person views with particular dislike: “The new candidate for governor is the bête noire of all the liberals in the state.” From French, meaning “black beast.”

A person or thing that is particularly disliked. For example, Calculus was the bête noire of my freshman courses. This phrase, French for “black beast,” entered the English language in the early 1800s. For synonyms, see pain in the neck; thorn in one’s flesh.

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