English Phraseology: Don’t Bug the Beagle

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My son, Giako, got a  Snoopy t-shirt at Christmas that reads “Don’t Bug the Beagle!” . Let’s examine the word ‘bug’ together. It’s got lots of useful expressions.

What does bug mean? It refers to a small insect such as a beetle, a cinch, or a mosquito. We can also use it when talking about a small microphone that allows investigators to monitor what people are saying.

When used as a verb, it takes on several meanings. Here are a few:

  • Would you stop bugging me? I’ll do my homework soon. (i.e. irritate, bother)
  • Bug off! I don’t want to talk to you. (i.e. go away)
  • She was bugging out when she found out she lost her job. (i.e. to go crazy)

When my kids were little, I’d put them to bed and wrap them up tightly in their blankets. This way they would be warm and comfortable. I’d say: ”You are as snug as a bug in a rug.”

To catch a bug” means to contract something or to get into the habit of doing something.  Here are a few examples:

  • I caught the flu bug. I have fever today. (i.e. catch germs)
  • I caught the internet bug. (i.e. I use the internet a lot)
  • I think I am catching the gambling bug (i.e.  I am starting to like gambling)
Snoopy as "the World War I flying ace&quo...

Snoopy as “the World War I flying ace”, flying his Sopwith Camel. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fluency Builder: discuss the following with your teacher or chat buddy.

  1. Can you name 4 creepy bugs?
  2. Do you watch a tv show that tells the story of an investigator?
  3. What really bugs you ?
  4. When was the last time you bugged out?
  5. When you catch the flu bug, what are the symptoms?



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