A bun in the oven


What's the meaning of the phrase 'A bun in the oven'?

To have ‘a bun in the oven’ is to be pregnant. Oven = womb, baby = bun.

What's the origin of the phrase 'A bun in the oven'?

This phrase might have been derived as an allusion to the loose connection between ‘baby’ and ‘bunny’. However, it’s more likely that this, and other terms for pregnant, like ‘up the duff‘ and ‘in the pudding club‘, all share the same euphemistic source.

The phrase originated in the 20th century. The first citation I can find is in Nicholas Monsarrat’s Cruel Sea, 1951:

“‘I bet you left a bun in the oven, both of you,’ said Bennett thickly… Lockhart explained … the reference to pregnancy.”

Trend of a bun in the oven in printed material over time

Gary Martin is a writer and researcher on the origins of phrases and the creator of the Phrase Finder website. Over the past 26 years more than 700 million of his pages have been downloaded by readers. He is one of the most popular and trusted sources of information on phrases and idioms.

Gary Martin

Writer and researcher on the origins of phrases and the creator of the Phrase Finder website. Over the past 26 years more than 700 million of his pages have been downloaded by readers. He is one of the most popular and trusted sources of information on phrases and idioms.