I too think the origin may have been in cars for racing, but we should be aware that the OED editors disagree, and think it possibly started with motor bikes (see their Appeals list []) --Enginear 01:14, 12 May 2006 (UTC)
- To my knowledge, there has been no definite source for the phrase "bog standard", it doesn't seem to have come from "box standard". —This unsigned comment was added by Alastairward (talk • contribs) at 13:21, 29 January 2008 (UTC).
- The phrase comes from "bulk standard". If you say "bulk standard" quickly, then it sounds a bit like "bog standard" - it's the same principle that makes people think that it's "could of" instead of "could've". If one buys something in bulk, then the items are most likely to be the same. Therefore, they are a standard, hence "bulk standard". This is the phrase that I grew up with, and somehow in the nineties it became "bog" standard. —This unsigned comment was added by Pedanticbloke (talk • contribs) at 09:49, 8 April 2009 (UTC).
I would like to add another possible derivation. I was told by one of the team owners that they used to run a standard minivan in trials. Having once become stuck in a bog, they renamed their team Team BogTune. And referred thereafter to the car as a bog standard minivan. Seems as plausible as any of the others around, and this would have been in the early 60's. Tyrekicker 14:37, 22 February 2011 (UTC)
Professor David Crystal on these and other theories: http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/radio/specials/1728_uptodate/page25.shtml22.214.171.124 23:32, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
Dump of the former etymology section
- It has been proposed that it is from early Meccano sets that were labelled box standard or box deluxe and this is the origins of the British expressions bog standard and the dog's bollocks respectively.
- Another suggestion is that bog standard refers to "British or German standard", a statement that has been purported to appear on engineering drawings prior to the second World War. At this time British and German engineering was in its heyday and therefore this mark was intended to be a reference to practices entailing a high standard of quality. It could be possible that the abbreviation 'BOG' and its colloquial British use to refer to the toilet could over time have caused bog standard to evolve into a humorous phrase referring to mundane, rock-bottom or lowest common denominator practices.
- British etymologist and writer, Michael Quinion  writes about the etymology of this phrase and dismisses the engineering standard explanation as "hardly likely" without justification. However he also states:
- "It first appeared in writing in the 1980s, seemingly out of the air. Several subscribers have told me that they remember it from the late 1960s and early 1970s in Rolls Royce and Ford factories and from other engineering environments."
- If true, this does tend to lend support to the hypothesis that bog standard refers to British or German standard because people working in engineering companies at the time are likely to have been exposed to the phrase from engineers and their technical drawings before it worked its way out into popular culture and lost its original grounding.
Rambling speculation doesn't belong. Whoever wrote this had an axe to grind in support of "British or German" but I reckon that's the weakest one of this bunch just for Bayesian reasons: Quinion is entirely right when he speaks of "the tendency among amateur word sleuths to explain any puzzling word as an acronym". 4pq1injbok 02:46, 29 September 2010 (UTC)