Green’s Dictionary of Slang

take the bun v.

[var. on take the cake v.]

(Aus./US) to surpass, to outdo, esp. in excessive or extreme behaviour; thus also give/pass the bun, to credit something with being the best or worst example.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 26 Sept. 6/2: For scathing sarcasm the following ‘takes the bun’ from all creation.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 5 July 18/3: There was once the son of a Gunn, / A beggar to slog and to run; / He hit ’em so fast / That our boys looked aghast / A groaned ‘He has collared the bun.’.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 6 May. 1/6: A great London weekly, which invited its readers to quote ‘the most pathetic line in the world’ gave the bun to —.
[UK]Sporting Times 19 May 1/3: For preserving a dignified gravity under the most trying circumstances Mr. Penley, or ‘Charles, his Aunt,’ easily waltzes off with the bun.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 20 July 14/4: ‘Yarrum’ gives Temora the ‘bun’ for being the best-pubbed town in Rabbit Land.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 13 Mar. 8/2: Elijah Dowie’s father-in-law, an Adelaide bootmaker, takes the bun for meanness.
[UK]Sporting Times 25 Mar. 2/3: Of all the things that I detest I pass the bun to crowds.
[UK]Marvel III:55 12: I’ve seen some pantomimes in my time [...] and if this one doesn’t take the whole stock of buns my name’s not Tripp.
[UK]Marvel 21 Apr. 354: Of all the ungrateful, disobligin’ codders, if he don’t take the champion bun!
[UK]‘Doss Chiderdoss’ ‘When The Cranks Have Had Their Way’ Sporting Times 16 May 1/3: This takes not merely one but all the buns!
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 28 Nov. 48/1: I was never one who passed the bun to them there patent cures; / But, nevertheless, I must confess, Smith’s wondrous pill endures.
[US]Day Book (Chicago) 29 Apr. 13/2: Of all the bums i ever saw he took the bun.
[NZ]N.Z. Truth 28 Oct. 5/4: Mine Friendt, for row you take der cake, your language take der bun.
[Aus]C.J. Dennis ‘The Battle of the Wazzir’ in Moods of Ginger Mick [unpub. unrevised proof version] But the Battle uv the Wazzir took the bun.
[UK]B. Cronin Timber Wolves 96: Of all the old idiots that ever walked, you and George take the bun!
[NZ]N.Z. Truth 29 Dec. 4/6: If ever a fool were born / That Sidney takes the bun.
[UK]R. McGregor-Hastie Compleat Migrant 105: Bun, to take the: to win.
[UK](con. 1860s) P. Ackroyd Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem 74: This really takes the bun.