Definition of bun in English:



  • 1A small cake, typically containing dried fruit.

    ‘a currant bun’
    • ‘Will local bakeries that produce buns and chocolate eclairs be affected?’
    • ‘When I was a student, it was a warm refuge to sip on bottomless cups of coffee and indulge in steamed fruit pudding and toasted cinnamon buns.’
    • ‘Children at Clevedon House raised more than £400 by taking in cakes and buns to sell.’
    • ‘At its simplest, coffee is accompanied by a sweet bread called pulla; more elaborate coffees may include a salty dish as well as a pulla ring or buns, cookies, and cakes.’
    • ‘Good Friday is celebrated with a traditional breakfast of codfish cakes and hot-cross buns.’
    • ‘Imagine children having tea, inevitably squabbling over the buns, teacakes, muffins and - this being a British expression - crumpets.’
    • ‘Sally Lunn's buns are perhaps not as well known as Bakewell tart, Richmond maids of honour and Eccles cakes but that is because they never appear outside their home town.’
    • ‘Tea, hot-cross buns and Easter eggs, completed the afternoon.’
    • ‘Even for those who did not grow up with it, there is something therapeutic about the activity involved - the alluring aromas wafting from the oven, and the comforting taste of freshly baked cakes or buns.’
    • ‘These offered the most delicious apple strudel, chocolate brownies and buns!’
    • ‘His wife performed the same function but with more buns and cakes.’
    • ‘Where there might once have been fresh buns, or cakes, or pastries, now there's just a tray of mass-produced muffins wrapped in plastic with an sell-by date several months into the future.’
    • ‘There were sack races, a tea in the marquee with cakes, buns and sandwiches for 200, and a lad who won the prize for his branch-covered fancy dress of Boots.’
    • ‘Save some room for dessert: homemade warm, frosted cinnamon buns and chocolate-chip cookies.’
    • ‘These were public teapot teas, where we pretended that we were just like everyone else, with cakes or buns.’
    • ‘But other brands of crumb cakes, doughnuts, and cinnamon buns probably have as much trans.’
    • ‘Check the label on the biscuits and you'll see that some scones or buns or wholemeal biscuits are the better alternative.’
    • ‘Her favourites are cream buns and rock buns, and when I take her some her face lights up.’
    • ‘There will be a wide selection of produce on sale from fresh home baking - from breads, tarts, quiches, cakes, pies, buns - all to make the mouth water.’
    • ‘So indeed the Berliner, a bun or a jam doughnut, also had to be changed in name.’
    1. 1.1 A bread roll.
      • ‘The crust and the sandwich buns were all freshly made, light warm and doughy.’
      • ‘Try a biscuit crust, tortillas, flatbread such as pita, bun halves or a baguette cut in half lengthwise as bases for pizza toppings.’
      • ‘There is, of course, the option of sausage or schnitzel on a bun, and sauerkraut is available, but will cost you extra.’
      • ‘They all indulged in the delicious Bar-b-cue food of sausages, burgers on buns and hot dog rolls.’
      • ‘Ring the changes with pitta bread or sesame buns, instead of the usual sliced bread.’
      • ‘Even when it isn't, most people want more on their hamburger than a bun and a little ketchup.’
      • ‘The children helped bakers from Bettys, who produced the bread buns, and were served sausages cooked by Ladies in Pigs, a group of farmers' wives who promote the merits of British pork.’
      • ‘It's served on a ciabatta bun and everything about it was perfect.’
      • ‘Serve on whole-wheat buns or Kaiser rolls, or spread on top of rice.’
      • ‘It offers 740 calories and 4.9 grams of salt comprising two slices of cheese, two eggs, three strips of bacon and a sausage patty on a bun.’
      • ‘Then, I imagine, it is pumped into sausage skins and served in a bun smothered in ketchup and mustard.’
      • ‘White bread, in the form of sliced and in the form of hamburger and hot dog buns make up over 50% of what's out there.’
      • ‘Serve while still hot or slap into a bun with a burger and some salad.’
      • ‘Chief Reilly lifted the bun of his pastrami and mayo on a kaiser roll, sniffing at it suspiciously.’
      • ‘There were sweet potatoes with cheese and sour cream, corn on the cob, hot dogs in buns along with ketchup and mustard, then a bowl full of coleslaw, and squares of red Jell-o set out on a plate.’
      • ‘There were 3 cute-looking little burgers in mini bread buns.’
      • ‘Have it on one of those excellent rye bread buns you do so well.’
      • ‘Also, anyone who asks for a hamburger without a bun should be left alone to eat in their Atkins friendly fraudulence.’
      • ‘Serve warm, sandwiched in a bread bun with a stack of fresh salad.’
      • ‘It also has dual gas controls with a full range of temperatures, so you can sear burgers on one side of the grill and gently toast buns on the other, just by adjusting the flame.’
    2. 1.2 (in Scotland and Jamaica) a rich fruit cake or currant bread.
      • ‘Their patties, Jamaican hard-dough bread, buns, and cakes were a hit; within four years the family had opened stores in New Jersey and Connecticut.’
      • ‘Scottish baking is superb, apart from the obvious shortbread; pies, scones, buns, fruit cake.’
      • ‘Try an Easter recipe from our collection of bread recipes, including our Jamaican Easter bun recipe.’
      • ‘They can also be shredded into scones or bread to add a gorgeous yellow colour, or added to savoury tarts, sweet buns or sponge puddings.’
  • 2A hairstyle in which the hair is drawn back into a tight coil at the back of the head.

    • ‘My grandmother Nellie wore long skirts and aprons, and her hair in a tight bun at the back of her neck.’
    • ‘There are contrasts in hair trends right now, from small, tight buns to big fluffy glamazon hair.’
    • ‘Lydia Scott smoothed a flyaway strand of hair back into her tight bun.’
    • ‘Long hair was always swept back into a ponytail or bun, and short hair is just combed into place.’
    • ‘Her hair was no longer in a tight bun, but in a loose ponytail.’
    • ‘I quickly pulled my hair into a tight bun, not wanting to bother with a swim cap.’
    • ‘Her hair was pulled into a tight bun exposing her beautiful neck.’
    • ‘She was young, only about twenty-two, but the way she wore her blond hair pulled back in a tight bun added years onto her age.’
    • ‘If local women venture onto the dusty streets at all, they sport ankle-length dresses, buttoned-up blouses and 1930s hairstyles with buns and pompadours.’
    • ‘To keep her hair from falling where it wasn't needed, she had pulled it up to a tight bun and sprayed as much hair spray as the ozone layer allowed.’
    • ‘Smiling, she tidied up her hair into a tight bun, with a thin, wooden chopstick going through it.’
    • ‘Maids always wore their hair in tight buns, but the hair of this maid was falling down around her neck.’
    • ‘Quick add-ons like wigs, buns, falls and ponytails give you salon hair in-between appointments and they're recyclable.’
    • ‘Her hair was pulled back into a tight bun, with a few soft bangs curled around, just framing her brow.’
    • ‘Some people have a natural ability to create buns, updos or French Twists on their own hair without any assistance.’
    • ‘She was an aging woman, with her grey hair tied back in a tight bun.’
    • ‘They work great on my very thick, pretty curly hair for ponytails and sloppy buns.’
    • ‘She looked very muscular and in her mid-forties with rich, dark brown curly hair put back in a tight bun.’
    • ‘Her hair was pulled up into a bun that let tight ringlets dangle down, her dress was white and iridescent.’
    • ‘After dressing, Abby dampened her hair, pulling it up in a tight bun and tying a black and white ribbon around it.’
  • 3bunsNorth American informal A person's buttocks.

    • ‘The only reason, he adds, that I don't have women walking by me and with a sexy glance saying, "Nice Buns", and smiling knowingly, is because I do not use the Bowflexor.’
    • ‘Tight, toned and shapely buns and thighs can be yours with this energetic new yoga program.’
    • ‘It takes a very secure individual to call their buttocks, buns.’
    buttocks, behind, backside, rear, rear end, seat, haunches, cheeks
    View synonyms


  • have a bun in the oven

    • informal Be pregnant.

      • ‘Which Big Brother brunette has a bun in the oven?’
      • ‘Once Bening successfully has a bun in the oven, Shandling's work is done, so he becomes the typical lazy husband, not interested in sex or talking.’
      • ‘It was still a bit strange that I was not yet twenty but still had a bun in the oven.’
      • ‘This chick, who's like a soapie star in Australia - announced six weeks ago that she had a bun in the oven.’


Late Middle English: of unknown origin.