from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun An unsweetened round or oblong roll, used especially to hold a hamburger patty or a hot dog.
  • noun A small sweetened roll, often spiced or containing dried fruit.
  • noun A tight roll of hair worn at the back of the head.
  • noun A drunken spree.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A dry stalk; the dry stalk of hemp stripped of its rind.
  • noun The tail of a hare.
  • noun A rabbit. Also called bunny.
  • noun A slightly sweetened and flavored roll or biscuit; a sweet kind of bread baked in small cakes, generally round.
  • noun A flat-bottomed boat square at both ends.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun any of a variety of slightly sweetened or plain raised cakes or bisquits, often having a glazing of sugar and milk on the top crust.
  • noun a type of coiffure in which the hair is gathered into a coil or knot at the top of the head.
  • noun slang the buttocks.
  • noun (Med.) same as blood urea nitrogen; the concentration of nitrogen in blood present in the form of urea; -- used as a measure of kidney function.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A small bread roll, often sweetened or spiced.
  • noun A tight roll of hair worn at the back of the head.
  • noun slang, UK A drunken spree.
  • noun Internet, slang A newbie.
  • noun dialect, obsolete A squirrel or rabbit.
  • verb UK, slang To smoke cannabis.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun small rounded bread either plain or sweet


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English bunne, probably from Old French bugne, boil, of Celtic origin.]

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Origin unknown.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English bunne ("wheat cake, bun"), from Anglo-Norman bugne ("bump on the head; fritter"), from Old Frankish *bungjo (“little clump”), diminutive of *bungo (“lump, clump”), from Proto-Germanic *bungô, *bunkô (“clump, lump, heap, crowd”), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰenǵʰ- (“thick, dense, fat”). Cognate with Dutch bonk ("clump, clot, cluster of fruits"). More at bunch.


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word bun.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • "Did you grow up in Kentucky?" he asked. He imagined her as a big-eyed child in a cotton shift, playing in some dusty, sunny alley, some rural Kentucky-like place. Funny she had grown up to be this wan little bun with too much makeup in black creases under her eyes.

    "The girl on the plane", from "Because They Wanted to", by Mary Gaitskill

    What would you say bun means in this context?

    January 25, 2013

  • That's fascinating! I have no idea, Pro.

    January 25, 2013

  • Depends. Is the character described elsewhere as carrying her hair in a bun? If she is, maybe bun therefore is just a shortcut, i.e. reduce her to her most defining characteristics. Different hairstyle, but I'd call it the Marge Simpson rule.

    January 25, 2013

  • That woman has "shoulder-length, pale-brown hair", so I'd say no...

    January 25, 2013

  • I see.

    If the author was a James Joyce I'd figure he was just chucking a word in to see if it might work. But the style is very straightlaced here.


    January 25, 2013

  • My guess is that it's simply an attempt at metaphor that didn't really come off (metaphor misphire?)

    January 26, 2013