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)


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 Peterson, who entered Wednesday averaging less than 10 points per game, was humble and most of all happy the Cavaliers were getting on the bus with a win. Glenn Graham, baltimoresun.com, 19 Jan. 2022 If teams are on a bus or train that's experiencing difficulties, unfortunately, they aren't given a boost to compensate for the breakdown. Skyler Caruso, PEOPLE.com, 18 Jan. 2022 Many of those are courtesy of parents trying to occupy young children in the bath, on the bus, or at the doctor's office. Stephanie Mlot, PCMAG, 14 Jan. 2022 The driver said he was instructed by his supervisors not to allow the teen on the bus, the lawsuit alleges. Connor Sanders, The Salt Lake Tribune, 11 Jan. 2022 The shuttle, which runs weekends and holidays, costs $3.50 per person age 16 and older; all visitors must reserve a seat on the bus, which boards in nearby Mill Valley. Washington Post, 6 Jan. 2022 Competitive sport is both a social construct (team meetings, on the bus, during practice where men and women often are training together, in the locker room, and so on), and a competition construct (the race or head-to-head performance itself). Donna Lopiano, Forbes, 5 Jan. 2022 The very question […] has come to be seen […] as unraisable, potentially lethal, the conversational equivalent of an unclaimed bag on a bus. Zadie Smith, The New Yorker, 24 Dec. 2021 But several weeks later, another girl — apparently a friend of the bullies on the bus — lured her daughter into a bathroom where yet another girl attacked her, leaving the sixth-grader with a black eye and a concussion. Leslie Postal, orlandosentinel.com, 23 Dec. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In all, more than 109 million people will drive, fly or bus out of town. Taylor Pettaway, San Antonio Express-News, 20 Dec. 2021 And would bus lanes replacing on-street parking from Bowdoin to Charles Circle on Cambridge Street be more effective? BostonGlobe.com, 5 Nov. 2021 And after years of having to bus students at least 10 miles north to Yuma, Somerton finally met the threshold for its own high school. Astrid Galvan And Mike Schneider, Anchorage Daily News, 27 Aug. 2021 That Pepperdine win came after a challenging preseason in which the team had to bus to Oxnard to train because their field at school wasn’t ready. Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times, 2 Nov. 2021 Then Mason will bus near Columbus for Sunday's Ohio Tennis Coaches Association team tournament. Scott Springer, The Enquirer, 24 Oct. 2021 While other nonprofits can bus people in, the temporary heat shelter has become something Martinez and his friends have depended on. Megan Taros, The Arizona Republic, 1 Oct. 2021 There are myriad things parents need that can only be bought with cash, from diapers to clothes to bus fare to sports fees. Bryce Covert, The New Republic, 12 Oct. 2021 And after years of having to bus students at least 10 miles north to Yuma, Somerton finally met the threshold for its own high school. Astrid Galvan And Mike Schneider, Anchorage Daily News, 27 Aug. 2021

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

Learn More About bus

Dictionary Entries Near bus

Bury Saint Edmunds



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Statistics for bus

Last Updated

23 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Bus.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bus. Accessed 29 Jan. 2022.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on 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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