What Does To Bog Something Down Mean?

Bog Down Meaning

Definition: Cause something to become stuck or delayed so that no progress is made.

This phrasal verb is used to describe hindering the progress of some action or pre-determined plan. When someone is bogged down, something has caused the action to be become encumbered and slow, making it unable to move further.

If you are bogged down at work, you have too much to do and probably need help to complete everything.

If a computer server is bogged down, it might mean that it is overwhelmed with traffic and cannot serve it all, making its operations slow and clunky.

Origin of To Bog Something Down

bogged down definitionA bog is a soft, wet, muddy area that is unable to support a heavy body. It is a Scottish Gaelic word from the 14th century (bogach). It became a verb in 1600, meaning to sink someone or something in a bog.

Down has been used as a preposition since the year 1500, and was added to the verb bog shortly after its original appearance to make the phrasal verb we know today.

Bog something down was slang for a long time before it was recorded, and its earliest known source wasn’t until 1899 in The Seattle Star:

  • And they were bogged down with the weight of it all – but no one could do any different, or any better, it must be said.

Examples of To Bog Something Down

bog you downIn the modern day, the phrasal verb can be literal,

  • The car got bogged down in the mud.

It can also be figurative,

  • Don’t let yourself get bogged down in minor details.

It can also simply mean to be tired,

  • I felt bogged down by all the work I had to do.

More Examples

  • Things did not seem to be working out [in our marriage]. I am a happy person and I did not want our differences to bog me down so we decided to part ways. –The Standard
  • I’d be lying if I told you fear- the mind killer- doesn’t bog me down as well. –Anchorage Press


The phrase to bog down means that something slows you down because it is literally or metaphorically too heavy or thick for you to move through.