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


In 1661, mathematician Blaise Pascal 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.” Bus was first used in this sense in the 1830s, its "everyone" meaning referencing the fact that anyone could join the coach along its route, unlike with 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 Dean’s family was part of a small group of people who participated in the city’s weekly walk-in vaccination bus event at the Austin CPL parking lot. Chicago Tribune Staff, chicagotribune.com, "Coronavirus in Illinois updates: Here’s what’s happening this weekend with COVID-19 in the Chicago area," 8 May 2021 The one-week comprehensive program teaches children about keeping safe and specific safety procedures around fire, water, guns, bikes, pedestrians, bus and poisons. Joan Rusek, cleveland, "Immerse yourself in nature this summer and get your feet wet in science: Valley Views.," 8 May 2021 Sean Oppenheimer, 21, of Fairfield used to see the husky on morning walks to the bus, but those ended early in the pandemic. Rebecca Lurye, courant.com, "UConn 2020 graduates have their day with commencement at Rentschler Field Saturday," 8 May 2021 Deductible travel expenses while away from home include, but aren't limited to, the costs of: Travel by airplane, train, bus, or car between your home and your business destination. Brian Thompson, Forbes, "Making The Most Out Of Your Business Travel," 7 May 2021 Before the Northstar commuter rail, there was an express bus in this corridor that had an 85% fare box recovery, which means 85% of operating costs were covered by fares paid by passengers. Scott Schulte, Star Tribune, "Northstar commuter rail is a failed experiment," 7 May 2021 The roomy bus, which has had a fun interior makeover since filming, sleeps three and features plenty of Spice Girls relics to snap photos with. Hillary Maglin, Travel + Leisure, "9 Incredible Pop Culture-themed Airbnbs — From 'Harry Potter' Villas to 'Game of Thrones' Apartments," 7 May 2021 According to video and the sheriff, the suspect boarded the bus, held a rifle to the driver and told him to drive to the next town. Aj Willingham, CNN, "5 things to know for May 7: Coronavirus, GOP, school violence, voting limits, Brexit," 7 May 2021 Esenwein and her husband jumped in the car and started searching for the bus. Emily Shapiro, ABC News, "10-year-old boy recounts harrowing moment armed man hijacked school bus," 7 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb County commissioners want to bus to bring the COVID-19 vaccine and health care services into Black communities. Scott Wartman, The Enquirer, "COVID-19 vaccines on wheels coming to Hamilton County after commissioners OK bus," 24 Mar. 2021 Washington’s alma mater, Campbell Hall, an Episcopal day school in Studio City, didn’t have its own field, so the team would bus over here to Birmingham High for battle. Jamil Smith, Rolling Stone, "John David Washington | The Rolling Stone Cover," 18 Mar. 2021 If Cincinnati could get past the Wolf Pack in the second round, the plan was for the Bearcats to bus straight to Atlanta for the regional semifinal. Los Angeles Times, "The Sports Report: Lakers win third straight since All-Star break," 17 Mar. 2021 Ordering is at the bar, seating will be first-come first-served, masks are required when not seated and guests are asked to bus their own tables. Michael Russell, oregonlive, "Portland’s oldest steakhouse, best beer bar and most beloved fried chicken dive all reopen this week," 26 Feb. 2021 The main supporter of the bill, state Sen. Doug Mastriano, has claimed that Biden’s victory in the state is illegitimate and spent thousands of dollars to bus protesters to the Jan. 6 demonstration that ended in the assault on the Capitol. Michael Wines, BostonGlobe.com, "After record turnout, Republicans are trying to make it harder to vote," 30 Jan. 2021 The main supporter of the bill, State Senator Doug Mastriano, has claimed that Mr. Biden’s victory in the state is illegitimate, and spent thousands of dollars to bus protesters to the Jan. 6 demonstration that ended in the assault on the Capitol. New York Times, "After Record Turnout, Republicans Are Trying to Make It Harder to Vote," 30 Jan. 2021 Notre Dame had originally planned to bus the two hours and change up to Breslin Center on the day of the game (with the late start), but pandemic testing protocols mandated that the Irish traveling party be in town on Friday. Tom Noie, The Indianapolis Star, "Notre Dame basketball: Irish fall hard to Michigan State," 30 Nov. 2020 Patrons are asked to bus their own tables, get their own drinks from a self-serve soda fountain, and sit over six feet apart at all times. Connor Sheets | Csheets@al.com, al, "Birmingham-area restaurants erect outdoor tents, take new COVID precautions for winter," 30 Nov. 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

11 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Bus.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bus. Accessed 18 May. 2021.

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

Kids Definition of bus

: a large motor vehicle for carrying passengers

Comments on bus

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