noun, often attributive
\ ˈbəs \
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

b : automobile

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


She boarded a bus in Nashville. Are you traveling by train or by bus?


He buses tables at the local diner.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Screaming football fans impersonating rock star groupies as head coach Lane Kiffin and his players exit their team bus is perfectly contrasted by Gene Wilder singing an iconic song from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. Michelle R. Martinelli, For The Win, "College football season is 50 days away, and Lane Kiffin and FAU are already winning," 13 July 2018 The agency has no immediate plans to discard the upholstery on its 2,438 buses or four light-rail lines. Laura J. Nelson, latimes.com, "Goodbye, upholstery. Hello, vinyl: L.A. Metro is phasing out some of its infamous fabric seats," 10 July 2018 In the December 2012 attack, prosecutors said the four took their victim to the back of a private bus in New Delhi, raping her and penetrating her with an iron rod that damaged her internal organs. Aijaz Hussain, The Seattle Times, "India court keeps 3 death sentences in 2012 fatal gang rape," 9 July 2018 Russell was too afraid to walk from the back of the bus, where the girls' JV softball team was sitting, to the front where all the coaches were. Kaila White, azcentral, "Scandal on school bus sparks fury at Verrado High in Buckeye," 3 July 2018 Courtesy of Little Guy Trailers Like an Airstream or a vintage Volkswagen bus, teardrop trailers are an iconic part of American camping. Megan Barber, Curbed, "Camper trailer blends classic teardrop style with loads of amenities," 2 July 2018 And that goes for anybody on the move: walkers, skaters, baby-carriage pushers, motorcyclists, food-cart operators, delivery men, bus, truck, ambulance, and car drivers. Stella Bugbee, The Cut, "July, Ride On," 2 July 2018 Shuttle buses, 5:30-8:15 p.m. from Tamarac City Hall, 7525 NW 88th Ave.; or the Community Center, 8601 W. Commercial Blvd., Tamarac. Mary Lou Cruz, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Plantation and Sunrise area events, July 4-14," 1 July 2018 The spill caused more than 50 vehicles, including five buses, to catch on fire. Essence.com, "The Quick Read: Five Journalists Dead in Attack At Maryland's Capital Gazette," 29 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The plant held tours in late June in which curious residents were bused into the below-ground pit where asphalt is made and aggregates are mined. Lily Altavena, azcentral, "Controversy in the air as Mesa homeowners decry neighboring asphalt plant’s odors," 11 July 2018 Ravenelle said that around a thousand students from Fitchburg Public Schools will be bused in to attend the event. Graham Ambrose, BostonGlobe.com, "In Fitchburg, a plane that’s not so simple," 11 June 2018 John Kostelnik, president of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 3969, said the detainees from places like Central America and South Asia were bused in starting June 8. Dennis Romero /, NBC News, "ICE detainee in Southern California prison has chickenpox," 21 June 2018 Border agents bused 17 people to court in McAllen, Texas on Thursday, then abruptly returned them to an immigration facility without filing charges, assistant U.S. attorney James Sturgis said during a hearing. Brad Heath, USA TODAY, "Trump administration's 'zero tolerance' border prosecutions led to time served, $10 fees," 21 June 2018 The ruling Social Democratic Party bused in thousands of supporters from around the country for the rally. Vanessa Gera, BostonGlobe.com, "Gay pride parade turnout defies conservative trend in Europe," 9 June 2018 After the Indiana attack, students were bused to the Noblesville High School gym, where hundreds of parents and other family members arrived to retrieve them. CBS News, "Indiana teacher who tackled shooter released from hospital," 26 May 2018 Those who have been displaced have been bused to one of the last opposition strongholds, an area in northwest Syria which includes Idlib and northern Aleppo provinces. Raja Abdulrahim, WSJ, "Syrian Regime Takes Control of Country’s Largest Province," 16 May 2018 The people detained were all bused to a processing facility in McAllen. David Begnaud, CBS News, "On the ground with Border Patrol agents stopping undocumented immigrants," 19 June 2018

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


short for omnibus


see bus entry 1

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Learn More about bus

Phrases Related to bus

bus pass

bus stop

Statistics for bus

Last Updated

12 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for bus

The first known use of bus was in 1835

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More Definitions for bus



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 \
plural buses or busses

Kids Definition of bus

: a large motor vehicle for carrying passengers

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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).


the setting in which something occurs

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