A Bun in The Oven

Meaning of “A Bun In The Oven”

The phrase “a bun in the oven” means to be pregnant or expecting a baby. It is mostly used as an idiom which refers to the same. Here, a bun means ‘a baby’ and the ‘oven’ refers to the womb of the mother. It is a euphemism of becoming pregnant as literally, an oven is a source of providing warmth. According to the Oxford Online Dictionary, the phrase likened it to a pun, as a bun grows in size when baked in the oven. Similarly, an unborn child grows in the womb of the mother. The dictionary states that this expression is used in German, Danish as well as Italian with almost the same meanings.

Origin of “A Bun in the Oven”

This phrase is stated to have originated from, Cruel Sea, a novel by Nicholas Monserrate published in 1951. There is a reference to pregnancy as a character Bennet says “I bet you left a bun in the oven, both of you”. Then suddenly he turned a grey-green color and lurched out of the room. They heard him stumbling up the ladder, and the clang of the lavatory door behind him”. The phrase means the couple is about to expect a child after an intimate night.

Here is another example from the book ‘The Cruel Sea’ by former naval officer Nicholas Monsarrat. “Perhaps you have a bun in the oven,” said Morell suavely. He raised his eyebrows as he saw Lockhart struggling with laughter. Here Morell is teasing that Lockhart is pregnant.

Examples of “A Bun in the Oven” in Literature

Example #1

Bun in the Oven by Eleni Mendell

There’s a man on TV,
Came at me in a dream.
With a pretty face and bright blue eyes.
Isn’t wrong to imagine that someday I’ll have
The two of us side by side.

Who’s gonna laugh with me?
Share our bath with me?
Who’s gonna keep me warm?
I got a bun in the oven, but I still need lovin’
Will you be my only one?

This is a lyric by Eleni Mendell, an American singer. The phrase has been used in the second last line of the second stanza. The first stanza describes the situation for the next phenomenon. She expresses her romantic feelings about a man who appears on the television screen. She wants to be intimate with him and be on his side. The second stanza develops this relationship further until it reaches the end where the poet becomes pregnant stating it in euphemistic terms as ‘I got a bun in the oven’. She also dreams that even after having a child, she still needs love from that man. The stanza ends with a question to that man after knowing her pregnancy.

Example #2

Living in These Hard Times by Jethro Tull

Well the fly’s in the milk and the cat’s in the stew.
Another bun in the oven — oh, what to do?
We’ll laugh and we’ll sing and try to bring
A pound from your pocket.
Good day to you.
Oh, these hard times.

This is the first stanza of the song of Jethro Tull. The main theme of the song is that the times are hard as different places are witnessing terror incidents, as well as politicians, are using bombastic language. Amid this chaos, Tull describes a humorous situation in this second stanza where a fly falls in the milk, and a cat falls in the stew and assumes that the person who is cooking might be pregnant. It may point to the increasing population of the world, and another pregnancy is not good during hard times. The poet then asks about what is to be done next and responds that it is the time for enjoying and singing. He further states that they would try to earn money and make days good though the times are very difficult for them. It may point to the financial difficulties that do not allow people to have more children.

Example #3

“BUN IN THE OVEN Pregnant Meghan Markle’s clever new hair trick gives her an ‘instant face lift’, expert reveals” by Rebecca Flood, 29 January 2019, THE SUN.

This is an example of another use of the phrase “a bun in the oven” about the royal figure, Meghan Markle. Rebecca Flood has used the phrase in the newspaper article THE SUN on its January 29, 2019, publication. This is to announce that Meghan Markle is pregnant. The euphemism has been used for the royal figure as the people are expecting good news about her and are interested in knowing about the next step of her marriage that this phrase “a bun in the oven” announces.

Examples in Sentences as Literary Device

Example #1: It is mostly used as an understatement such as ‘After various miscarriages, his wife was very happy to have a bun in the oven.’ The husband here is expressing his joy of becoming a father after his wife had complications in conceiving earlier.

Example #2: ‘Finally, she has a bun in the oven after having passed her whole life without becoming pregnant.’ The use of this phrase here is again euphemistic, as it has announced that finally, the woman chose to be a mother perhaps late in her life.

Example #3: Both of them were happy beyond any description after having the news that the wife has a bun in the oven.

Example #4: A report published in Straits Times on April 03, 2019 has given a beautiful sentence using this phrase as a synonym breaking the news of the non-pregnancy of Chiling Lin, a Taiwanese model. She clearly says that “I am not pregnant,” but the report states “Early this year, she took two months off from work, prompting online speculation that she had a bun in the oven.” This sentence beautifully highlights the use of “a bun in the oven” in euphemistic terms.

Example #5: This phrase could also be used as a metaphor such as “A-bun-in-the-oven state cannot curb her desire to roam around in the city and enjoy.” Here the lady doesn’t want to stay at home during the pregnancy and has become a metaphor.