Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.
A person or thing that one strongly dislikes. This phrase means "black beast" in French. People who chew loudly are really my bête noire. She's trying to get her shift changed because night work is her bête noire.
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.
your, his, etc. bête ˈnoire(from French) a person or thing that particularly annoys you and that you do not like: Edward was furious when he discovered that he would be working with his old bête noire, Richard Watkins.
The meaning of the French phrase is ‘black beast’.
The bane of one’s existence; a persistent nuisance. French for “black beast,” this cliché is older than the synonymous pain in the neck and thorn in one’s side. It dates from the first half of the nineteenth century and became popular (in English) during the long period when French was the principal language of culture and diplomacy. It is on its way to obsolescence.