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 During a location change bus ride, Bayleigh reveals she got puked on not once but twice. Sydney Bucksbaum, EW.com, "The Challenge: Total Madness reunion part 2 recap: Exposing secret hookups and breakups," 30 July 2020 The company is offering buyers options that include antimicrobial poles and ultraviolet lighting that can be used to clean the interior when the bus isn’t traveling. Anne C. Mulkern, Scientific American, "Los Angeles Accelerates Efforts to Electrify Its Infamous Traffic," 30 July 2020 As one of the original Freedom Riders in 1961, he was beaten at a Greyhound station in South Carolina, then arrested and jailed when the bus reached Birmingham, Alabama. Nichelle Smith, USA TODAY, "Column: John Lewis pledged his heart and body to redeem a nation's soul," 30 July 2020 Services include: prenatal care, information about doctors, help accessing insurance, providing bus tokens, protection from COVID-19, food, Shockley-Smith said. Terry Demio, The Enquirer, "Black infant deaths dive to new low in Hamilton County," 13 July 2020 Students riding the bus will be asked to wear a mask and sanitize their hands upon boarding. Brenda Cain, cleveland, "How are Cuyahoga County districts handling back to school amid coronavirus surge? See the list," 13 July 2020 That bus sat rusted in a storage shed until The Henry Ford Museum acquired it in 2001 and restored it. Phoebe Wall Howard, Detroit Free Press, "2021 Ford Bronco designer follows in footsteps of the Jackie Robinson of car design," 13 July 2020 The driver was insulted, pushed off the bus and violently beaten and kicked in the head, the prosecutor said. NBC News, "French bus driver beaten to death after asking passengers to wear face masks," 12 July 2020 Well, Newitz wrote a short fiction story that envisions a future San Francisco incorporating social workers into the city’s bus system. Sarah Feldberg, SFChronicle.com, "Welcome to the Throughline: A new series about the Bay Area of tomorrow," 12 July 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Irish then could bus the 117 miles up to Washington afterward and spend a couple days in a city that might be on the verge of something Brey vowed to never again do with his schedule. Change. Tom Noie, The Indianapolis Star, "Noie: Non-league matchup with Howard bigger than basketball for Notre Dame," 27 June 2020 The Cardinals are planning to bus to all six road games this year, including the nine-hour drive to Central Arkansas. Greg Luca, ExpressNews.com, "UIW athletics taking ‘conservative approach’ to budgeting amid coronavirus pandemic," 10 June 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. Anchorage Daily News, "Gov. Cuomo sends National Guard to control virus in New York City suburb," 10 Mar. 2020 Joe Biden, who has drawn fire for his opposition to federally mandated integration by busing during the nineteen-seventies and his support for welfare reform in the nineteen-nineties, was foisted with the unenviable task of speaking first. Osita Nwanevu, The New Yorker, "Democrats’ Cautious Return to the War on Poverty," 30 June 2019 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

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

2 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Bus.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bus. Accessed 8 Aug. 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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