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 Presuming it’s under 100 degrees Fahrenheit, they will be permitted to travel to the stadium, commuting either in their own car or on the team bus, because taxis, Ubers and public transit won’t be allowed. Jared Diamond, WSJ, "Please Step Away From the Baserunner: Why Baseball in 2020 Won’t Be Much Fun," 18 May 2020 Bodies are roped with belts and ties, forced into unkind shoes and crammed into the narrow bounds of buses and tubes. The Economist, "Perspectives Even before lockdowns, confinement was part of human life," 16 May 2020 There are usually folks on the bus who embrace this option. Scott Mcmurren, Anchorage Daily News, "Travel restrictions mean more deals for Alaskans from local tourism businesses," 9 May 2020 Metro is encouraging, but not requiring, riders to wear masks while on a bus or train. Jenna Portnoy, Washington Post, "What are the current restrictions in the DMV?," 8 May 2020 The trailer opens with Atticus on a bus, returning home to Chicago, where he's welcomed with open arms. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "First trailer for HBO’s Lovecraft Country blends eldritch horrors and racism," 1 May 2020 Boucek made some calls and connected with someone who decided to donate 12 hot spots that students can use or that the district can put on buses and drive to various locations so students can log in. Jodi S. Cohen, ProPublica, "This Rural School District Has Been Asking for Wi-Fi for Years. Now It’s Finally Getting It.," 28 Apr. 2020 Eve is on a bus, fresh from discovering that Niko checked himself out of the sanitorium and left for Poland without so much as a word when Villanelle comes striding down the aisle. Kat Rosenfield, EW.com, "Killing Eve recap: Just throw it away, throw the whole entire baby away," 27 Apr. 2020 Defensively, Deer Park obviously can’t leave it on the bus. Robert Avery, Houston Chronicle, "Deer Park returns from Easter break tied for first in simulated 21-6A baseball race," 13 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Some people were bused down, others paid for their own journeys, and most of them aren’t Syrians at all, but nationals of several countries who’ve been struggling to carve out new lives in Turkey. Paul Tugwell, Bloomberg.com, "EU Gives $780 Million to Help Greece Stop Migrants at Border," 3 Mar. 2020 As with Latvia, producers in Iceland have suggested a model whereby foreign crews arrive on a private, chartered plane and are then bused to a remote hotel near the set where they can be effectively quarantined for the duration of the shoot. Scott Roxborough, The Hollywood Reporter, "Shooting During the Pandemic: How Global Producers Have Found New Ways to Work," 1 May 2020 Districts are considering busing kids to schools or perhaps delivering meals to kids. cleveland, "Ohio students will be out of school for at least 3 weeks. Will they be exempt from testing, hour requirements?," 13 Mar. 2020 One moment that stuck out to me was Thomas’s reaction to school-busing efforts in Massachusetts during the 1970s. Nr Interview, National Review, "Clarence Thomas in His Own Words: An Interview with Michael Pack," 30 Jan. 2020 About 1,220 people attended, some bused in and others driving more than 100 miles to attend, Spell told CNN. Deanna Hackney, CNN, "Churches hold Palm Sunday services despite state bans on gatherings," 5 Apr. 2020 By Tuesday, California officials began to allow more passengers to leave the ship and some were sent to hotels to begin their 14-day quarantine, while other U.S. passengers were flown or bused to military bases in California, Texas and Georgia. Tessa Duvall, The Courier-Journal, "Kentucky woman aboard Grand Princess says she still hasn't been tested for coronavirus," 14 Mar. 2020 But as those passengers were bused to Haneda Airport in Tokyo early Monday morning, Japanese officials told American counterparts that laboratory tests for 14 passengers had come back positive, Dr. Walters said. Edward Wong, New York Times, "Trump Was Furious That Passengers With Coronavirus Were Brought Back to U.S.," 10 Mar. 2020 Authorities said foreign passengers would be flown home, while Americans would be flown or bused to military bases in California, Texas, and Georgia for testing and 14-day quarantines. Olga R. Rodriguez, BostonGlobe.com, "National Guard sent into New York suburb to help control virus," 10 Mar. 2020

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

22 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Bus.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bus. Accessed 27 May. 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

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