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


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

The Chronicle assesses the effectiveness of a San Francisco program that offers homeless people a bus ticket home. Trisha Thadani, SFChronicle.com, "SF proposes first safe parking lot for homeless living out of vehicles," 15 July 2019 Commercial vehicles include large trucks, pickup trucks over 10,000 pounds, combination vehicles, buses with more than 15 passengers and school buses. Kellie Hwang, Indianapolis Star, "This is how often crashes in Indiana involve large trucks and other commercial vehicles," 15 July 2019 Also unlike a Saturday evening in the Swamp, the crowd arrived mostly at the same time -- choking bus systems accustomed to a steady trickle throughout a Saturday. Michael Casagrande | Mcasagrande@al.com, al.com, "Why there aren’t concerts in Bryant-Denny Stadium, the brief history of shows there," 15 July 2019 Demory and Russell also bought him a 30-day bus pass and helped him enroll in a 16 week program to earn his high school diploma. Karina Elwood, orlandosentinel.com, "To turn his life around, jailed former Winter Park High student called his teacher for help. She answered," 15 July 2019 The school will use shuttle buses in the afternoon when the new facilities open but it won’t be used for students to park in the morning. Eric Sondheimer, latimes.com, "Harvard-Westlake releases first draft for new athletic facilities on 16-acre site in Studio City," 15 July 2019 Among them was an image of the former president sitting in a bus seat once occupied by Rosa Parks, or another image of him standing and waving. Vandana Ravikumar, USA TODAY, "South Dakota's Rapid City adds Barack Obama statue to its City of Presidents collection," 14 July 2019 However, the group believes, based on information provided to them, that Van Spronsen was targeting the detention center's parking lot, which includes a fleet of buses that transports immigrants to the Yakima airport, where they are deported. Author: Brian Contreras And Paige Cornwell, Anchorage Daily News, "Armed man attacking Tacoma’s ICE detention center killed in officer-involved shooting," 14 July 2019 If you're selected, the registration fee is $325/person and includes admission to each day’s lineup, bus transportation to the set tour, and meals on certain days. Megan Stein, Country Living, "'When Calls the Heart' Fans Planned a Massive 'Hearties Family Reunion' and We Need to Go," 14 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In reality, from L.A. to Boston to New York, students had long been bused, often to maintain segregated schools. Jeanne Theoharis, The Denver Post, "Commentary: How school desegregation became the third rail of Democratic politics," 12 July 2019 In her essay, Hayes cited Harris’ experience as a young child who was bused as part of an effort to desegregate public schools. Daniela Altimari, courant.com, "Rep. Jahana Hayes endorses Kamala Harris for president," 3 July 2019 Thousand Oaks Elementary School, in a well-off area in North Berkeley near Solano Avenue, was the school to which Harris was bused. Joe Garofoli, SFChronicle.com, "Kamala Harris rode the buses that integrated Berkeley schools," 1 July 2019 As a child, Atkins was bused from his predominantly black neighborhood to a predominantly white middle school as part of a district desegregation initiative. Scottie Andrew And Brian Ries, CNN, "He started as a custodian. Now he's a principal in the same school district.," 11 June 2019 The photo below is from one of those campaign rallies, in which executives from one of the state’s largest video gambling companies bused their own employees to the event, telling them not to wear any attire tied to the company’s name. Logan Jaffe, ProPublica, "Of Course This Happened in Illinois. Why Wouldn’t It?," 31 May 2019 Often, black children were bused to white, wealthier school districts. Heather Timmons, Quartz, "Kamala Harris confronted Joe Biden about his record on desegregation," 28 June 2019 The Customs and Border Protection agency has bused asylum seekers here. Elaine Ayala, ExpressNews.com, "San Antonio officials, news media fight fear with facts," 14 June 2019 Take ’80s model star Carol Alt, who bused tables before a breakup prompted a career change, or Halima Aden who was reluctant to give up steady work in housekeeping back home in Minnesota even after booking an international Vogue cover. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "What It’s Really Like to Break Into the Modeling World," 9 Apr. 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

18 Jul 2019

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 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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with bus

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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).


something desired as essential

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