Definition of bog in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /bɒɡ/


1An area of wet muddy ground that is too soft to support a heavy body: a peat bog figurative a bog of legal complications [mass noun]: the island is a wilderness of bog and loch
More example sentences
  • Soggy areas called peat bogs have developed in parts of the country.
  • Help to open up an area of peat bog by cutting and burning small trees at Cumbria Wildlife Trust's Foulshaw Moss, near Witherslack, on Saturday.
  • The bog road was too soft for his heavy horse and cart to traverse, so he had to condescend to ask his two neighbours to put out and take home the turf with their donkeys and creels.
1.1 Ecology Wetland with acid peaty soil, typically dominated by peat moss. Compare with fen1.
Example sentences
  • The terrain here is flat, and the poor drainage encourages the creation of wetlands and bogs.
  • Peat-free products are those which are not sourced from the natural peat bogs and peatlands.
  • A showy grass known as foxtail barley was common along the highway, while here and there we saw bogs dominated by black spruce and larch.
2 (the bog) British informal The toilet.

verb (bogs, bogging, bogged)

1 (be/get bogged down) Be or become stuck in mud or wet ground: the family Rover became bogged down on the beach road
More example sentences
  • He showed signs of ability at Ascot 11 days ago, but got bogged down in the heavy ground.
  • Originally there had been fifty of these machines but these thirty ton machines could not cope with the harsh lunar landscape of the churned up ground and fourteen had broken down or got bogged down.
  • The seven-year-old, who won the Novices' Chase at Sandown in December, was bogged down in mud last time.
1.1Be prevented from making progress in a task or activity: you must not get bogged down in detail
More example sentences
  • Italian football can get bogged down in tactics.
  • You don't want to try to change too much and get bogged down in detail.
  • This has all the hallmarks of a Spielberg classic - it does not get bogged down in politics, science and strategy, but concentrates on big emotion and intimate drama with a well-written script.
mire, stick, trap, entangle, ensnare, embroil, encumber, catch up;
hamper, hinder, obstruct, impede, halt, stop, delay, stall, slow down, detain, hold in check, restrain;
swamp, overwhelm, overpower, overburden
2 [no object] (bog off) British informal Go away: I told him to bog off
More example sentences
  • Everyone in the PR department had bogged off to a winery for the evening.
  • As for my bogging off, I can not oblige until such time as Melissa bars me.
  • If she wants champagne she can bog off to the living room.
3 [no object] (bog in) Australian /NZ Start a task enthusiastically: if he saw a trucker in difficulty, he would just bog in and give a hand
Early 20th century: bog probably in the sense 'sink, immerse (oneself)'


Middle English: from Irish or Scottish Gaelic bogach, from bog 'soft'.

  • In Gaelic bog means ‘soft’, and this is the source of our word. In the slang sense ‘toilet’, bog was originally bog-house, which is recorded as early as 1665. The British Labour Party spin doctor Alistair Campbell caused widespread offence in 2001 when he said that ‘The day of the bog-standard comprehensive school is over’. Bog standard is first recorded in print as recently as the mid 1960s, although people working in the British motor industry remember it being used a little before this. It may be a reference to bog in the sense ‘lavatory’, but it is more likely to be an alteration of box standard, meaning either ‘made in a standard form and packaged in a box’ or ‘shaped like a box, plainly designed, and without refinements’.

Words that rhyme with bog

agog, befog, blog, clog, cog, dog, flog, fog, grog, hog, Hogg, hotdog, jog, log, nog, prog, slog, smog, snog, sprog, tautog, tog, trog

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: bog

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.