Bog Standard

Meanings of “Bog Standard”

The phrase ‘bog standard’ means fundamental, basic, unrefined, or even ordinary thing that has not changed over the years.

Origin of “Bog Standard”

The phrase “bog standard” might have appeared in print for the first time in October 1968’s Hot Car edition, where it mentions about brakes, “The brakes are bog standard.” Since then, it has been used regarding various other things in almost the same meanings.

Examples in Literature

Example #1

Word Blindness by Niall Finn

What is this novel dish I see?
The menu offers “Applepie”
I know in sewing you can say
“This pattern uses appliqué”
Though not the sort of thing you’d wish
To find, when dining, in a dish.
Perhaps it’s Greek (we are in Crete)?
The marvel’s listed as a sweet
Below such things as “lemon cake”
So might it be some tart they bake?
Just then you should have seen my face
As suddenly the missing space
Became apparent to my eye –
A plain, bog standard, “Apple pie”

In a highly ironic poem “bog standard” is about culinary items. They are unrecognizable due to the new exotic colors. However, they are just “bog standard” and ordinary as our regular dishes are. Sometimes very special dishes such as applique, Grecian cuisines, and even lemon cakes seem just apple pies, and they seem true.

Example #2

Bog-Standard Business: How I Took the Plunge and Became the Millionaire Plumber by Charlie Mullins

This book by Charlie Mullins discusses his plumbing business, which he raised in London, turning into more than GBP 20 million per year business empire. However, the interesting thing is that they are the plumbers of not ordinary people – but of movie stars and heroes. His meteoric rise from a poor boy to the top plumber of London shows that irony lies in the title – a literary device having contrary meanings than what is stated in the phrase.

Example #3

From Head on the Block by Tony Cooper

The word bog, being schoolboy slang for toilet, completes the connection to bog-standard. I am however taken with the idea that the origin of bog-standard was as a late nineteenth-century acronym for ‘British or German’ standards of engineering, which at the time were far from ordinary, indeed of world class standard. Alas, since there is no recorded use of the expression before the 1960s, it seems that this is the least likely of all possibilities.

Toy Cooper has tried to trace the background coinage of this phrase that seems an interesting discovery. From a simple slang term to a popular phrase, he traces its use in British and German engineering, adding that there is no record of its use in those meanings. This seems surprising. However, the meanings become clear that it means ordinary.

Example #4

Recruiting and Retaining Teachers: Understanding Why Teachers Teach by Anne Cockburn, Terry Haydn

Considering the fairly high profile of the debate about moves away from ‘bog-standard’ comprehensive schools at the time that the survey was conducted, perhaps surprisingly few respondents commented on the ‘type’ of school that they wished to work in, in terms of it being a ‘specialist’, ‘beacon’ or ‘training’ school. One trainee expressed the desire to teach in a technology college, and two wanted to teach at a school with good academic results, but there were also some who wanted ‘a challenge’, or who want to teach in a ‘mixed comprehensive.

The phrase ‘bog standard’ is used in the very first paragraph. It means quite ordinary and even lower than the ordinary standard for the schools used for surveys. The desire of the trainees to leave the schools is evident about its standard, as shown through the use of this phrase.

Example in Sentences

Example #1: “Most of the Asian schools have bog standard in the education system. There is no creativity.

Example #2: “Tina said her DVDs are now bog standards since she has switched to her iPad for watching films.”

Example #3: “They have prepared their dinner like bog standard meal which does not look something special for the guests coming to them.”

Example #4: “Quite often bog standard markets do not fit well within his given criteria. However, as he sets it, we are here to judge it after visiting the town.”

Example #5: “Instead of look at old things as bog standard, you must realize that old is gold. Every object has a special story.”