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

  • n. A small bread roll, often sweetened or spiced and sometimes containing dried fruit.
  • n. A tight roll of hair worn at the back of the head.
  • n. Slang A drunken spree.
  • n. Slang One of the buttocks. Often used in the plural.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A small bread roll, often sweetened or spiced.
  • n. A tight roll of hair worn at the back of the head.
  • n. A drunken spree.
  • n. A newbie.
  • n. A squirrel or rabbit.
  • v. To smoke cannabis.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. 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.
  • n. a type of coiffure in which the hair is gathered into a coil or knot at the top of the head.
  • n. the buttocks.
  • n. 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 The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

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

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

  • n. small rounded bread either plain or sweet


Middle English bunne, probably from Old French bugne, boil, of Celtic origin.
Origin unknown.
Dialectal, hind part of a rabbit or squirrel, from Scottish Gaelic, stump, bottom, from Old Irish.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
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. (Wiktionary)



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

    January 26, 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

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

    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's fascinating! I have no idea, Pro.

    January 25, 2013

  • "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