What Does Bun in the Oven Mean?

Bun in the Oven Meaning

Definition: Pregnant.

The idiom bun in the oven refers to pregnancy. The “bun” is the baby, and the “oven” is the mother’s womb. Perhaps it alludes to the warmth and shelter the mother’s womb provides.

Origin of Bun in the Oven

This idiom is relatively recent. Nicholas Monsarrat may have coined it in his 1951 novel, Cruel Sea:

“I bet you left a bun in the oven, both of you,” said Bennet thickly.

However, although the idiom is modern, oven has referred to a woman’s womb or vagina since the late 17th century.

Examples of Bun in the Oven

define bun in the ovenIn this example, Karen is gushing to her friend, Beth, about her pregnancy. Their conversation shows how women might use bun in the oven to announce their pregnancy to someone.

Karen: I’ve got some important news to tell you.

Beth: What is it?

 Karen: Well, I’ve got a bun in the oven.

Beth: You’re pregnant?! Congratulations! When are you due?

Karen: In December. The doctor said I might go into labor on Christmas!

bun in the oven meansSeth is at the local bar with his friends, Brian and Ralph. In this exchange, Seth is complaining about his pregnant wife’s mood swings. Ralph’s response shows how men might use bun in the oven to refer to pregnancy.

Seth: She’s just so irritable all the time. I wish there was something I could do to make her happy.

Brian: You probably shouldn’t be sitting at the bar with us.

Ralph: She has a bun in the oven. I’d be pretty irritable too if I had a little baby human growing inside me. I can’t imagine it’s very pleasant for her.

More Examples

  • “We have a bun in the oven,” Mitchell captioned the photo of himself with wife Asia Lee. Mitchell’s arm is around Lee as he holds a burger. Both wear “Good Burger” hats. – Chicago Tribune
  • The 5-foot blonde has already gained 22 pounds thanks to her bun in the oven, and says that her new figure has helped with her job. – NY Post

Summary

The English idiom bun in the oven refers to pregnancy. It likens the mother’s womb to an oven, and the baby to a bun that is baking.

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