noun, often attributive
\ ˈbəs How to pronounce bus (audio) \
plural buses also busses

Definition of bus

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : a large motor vehicle designed to carry passengers usually along a fixed route according to a schedule took the bus to work double-decker buses waiting at the bus stop
2 : a small hand truck
3a electrical engineering : bus bar
b computers : a set of parallel conductors (see conductor sense d(1)) in a computer system that forms a main transmission path
4 : a spacecraft or missile that carries one or more detachable devices (such as warheads)
throw (someone) under the bus
: to criticize, blame, or punish (someone in a vulnerable position) especially in order to avoid blame or gain an advantage … we will not throw any student under the bus for instant restoration of our image or our reputation.— Donna Shalala But he went out of his way to make clear that this one wasn't really on him. The problem lay with underlings, whom he quickly threw under the bus.— Rem Rieder


bused also bussed; busing also bussing

Definition of bus (Entry 2 of 3)

intransitive verb

1 : to travel by a large motor vehicle designed to carry passengers usually along a fixed route according to a schedule : to travel by bus
2 : to work as a busboy

transitive verb

1 : to transport by bus busing kids to school Students were bused in for the game.
2a : clear sense 4d bus dishes
b : to remove dirty dishes from bus tables

Definition of bus (Entry 3 of 3)


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The History of Bus


For nearly three centuries, French mathematician Blaise Pascal was credited with building the first mechanical calculator. Then, in 1935, historian Franz Hammer discovered papers proving that German mathematician Wilhelm Schickard had beaten Pascal to it by 18 years. But in 1661 Pascal initiated a world first that has not been discredited: he conceived the world’s first bus service, proposing that a number of coaches should “circulate along predetermined routes in Paris at regular intervals regardless of the number of people,” and pick up passengers for a small fixed fare. The word bus is short for omnibus, which means “for everyone.” It was first used in this sense circa 1823, and referred to the fact that anyone could join the coach along its route, unlike stagecoaches, which had to be pre-booked.

Examples of bus in a Sentence

Noun She boarded a bus in Nashville. Are you traveling by train or by bus? Verb He buses tables at the local diner.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In December, the Valley Transportation Authority opened a new bus line from Milpitas Transit Center to the airport. Mallory Moench, SFChronicle.com, "San Jose airport eyes expansion, but climate concerns loom," 14 Jan. 2020 The additional funds would finance road improvements — many of which are already needed — to create the city’s first high-frequency bus route with dedicated lanes, Nirenberg said. Joshua Fechter, ExpressNews.com, "San Antonio officials consider bonds to fund Edwards Aquifer protection, transit," 14 Jan. 2020 Remember that buses using chains must slow to 25 mph and schedules will be delayed. oregonlive, "Portland metro Tuesday traffic: Watch for snow and slick roads above 500 feet," 14 Jan. 2020 The other half would go toward groceries, gas, day care, bus fare, laundry and paying off her credit cards. Washington Post, "An 11-year-old uprooted from a gentrifying city: ‘Sometimes, moms can’t afford things.’," 14 Jan. 2020 The new revenue would help subsidize alternative forms of transportation, such as electric buses and car-charging stations. Jon Chesto, BostonGlobe.com, "Mills becomes latest governor to express concern about regional fuel pact," 13 Jan. 2020 In November, the F.A.A. released a report on its review of 47 possible ways of improving access to La Guardia, including extending subway lines and adding express buses and ferry boats. Patrick Mcgeehan, New York Times, "Why Ocasio-Cortez Is Criticizing Cuomo’s Plan for a Train to La Guardia," 13 Jan. 2020 Severe weather damaged an awning at the school, a greenhouse and four buses. Anna Claire Vollers | Avollers@al.com, al, "Deaths, school damage, power outages from weekend storms: What we know," 12 Jan. 2020 Cars and buses lurch through the ice fog as people keep to their schedules. Marc Lester, Anchorage Daily News, "So negative, yet so positive: At nearly 40 below zero, Fairbanks knows how to chill," 11 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Former Vice President Joe Biden is busing surrogates around the Hawkeye state. Matthew Walther, TheWeek, "The case for a single-day national primary," 13 Jan. 2020 When the program started, the agency bused the asylum-seekers to El Paso and then across the border to Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. Rafael Carranza, azcentral, "Apprehensions continue rising despite crackdown on asylum at the Arizona border," 9 Jan. 2020 Early in the morning Wednesday, dozens of reporters were bused out by the White House to the location of the NATO gatherings being held more than an hour from London to attend the event. NBC News, "Reporter's Notebook: President Trump's scrapped NATO press conference," 5 Dec. 2019 The rest are bused in daily from Munsan, the nearest town outside the DMZ. Choe Sang-hun, New York Times, "Yes, It May Be the Scariest Place on Earth. But It Has a Great School and 5G.," 2 Dec. 2019 For me, the Civil Rights era and the desegregation project meant being bused across town to a largely black elementary school, and the news flash that a largely black elementary school in Lubbock, Texas actually existed. Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, "History Is Short," 1 Dec. 2019 Mexican officials have bused hundreds of migrants to cities far away from the border, with no offer of returning them for their hearings. Nomaan Merchant, Twin Cities, "Tents, stench, smoke: Health risks are gripping migrant camp," 14 Nov. 2019 Starting in the first grade, the two grade-schoolers were bused together. Tanya A. Christian, Essence, "ABC To Air Rare Footage Of Desegregation Busing That Shaped Kamala Harris’s Formative Years," 5 Nov. 2019 That’s when Mexican authorities appear to have begun busing all the way back to Ciudad Hidalgo, along Mexico’s border with Guatemala. Los Angeles Times, "Mexico sends asylum-seekers south — with no easy way to return for U.S. court dates," 15 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bus.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of bus


1835, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


circa 1909, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for bus

Noun and Verb

short for omnibus

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Statistics for bus

Last Updated

17 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Bus.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bus. Accessed 28 January 2020.

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More Definitions for bus


How to pronounce bus (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of bus

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a large vehicle that is used for carrying passengers especially along a particular route at particular times



English Language Learners Definition of bus (Entry 2 of 2)

: to transport (someone) in a bus
: to remove dirty dishes from (a table at a restaurant)
: to remove (something, such as dirty dishes)


\ ˈbəs How to pronounce bus (audio) \
plural buses or busses

Kids Definition of bus

: a large motor vehicle for carrying passengers

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More from Merriam-Webster on bus

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bus

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with bus

Spanish Central: Translation of bus

Nglish: Translation of bus for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bus for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about bus

Comments on bus

What made you want to look up bus? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


showing steady, earnest care and effort

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