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

There will be big screens, open-air double decker buses for the players, and surely, thousands of crazed fans. Christina Maxouris, CNN, "Toronto is about to kick off a massive celebration honoring the Raptors' first-ever NBA title," 17 June 2019 After the walk, people will ride buses back to the starting point. Phil Marty, chicagotribune.com, "Walk to Canada, watch a PGA tournament in Illinois and more Midwest summer events," 14 June 2019 Luxury bus operator Vonlane plans to expand its service offerings between Houston and Austin. Denis Kasyanchuk, Houston Chronicle, "Vonlane expands luxury bus service between Houston, Austin," 14 June 2019 The cast of Dark Phoenix will be subjected to a double-decker bus tour of London led by Corden. Dan Snierson, EW.com, "Watch Michelle Obama hype up her dodgeball team to face Benedict Cumberbatch and Harry Styles," 14 June 2019 Torrance Transit bus 7 takes you to Madrona Avenue/Plaza del Amo. Charles Fleming, latimes.com, "L.A. Walks: The path to a vibrant marsh in Torrance’s industrial core," 14 June 2019 The buses full of tourists have mostly stopped over the years, but not the visitors. Kathleen Foody, Fortune, "'They Want to Experience It.' Why Columbine Might Be Demolished 20 Years After School Shooting," 14 June 2019 The graduates will return via bus to the campus at 5 a.m. Friday. Pomerado News, "Del Norte, Rancho Bernardo High to hold graduation ceremonies," 13 June 2019 Did that dirty bus have the nerve to splash you all over with yucky street water? Nandi Howard, Essence, "Let Rickey Thompson Convince You To Snag That New Alexander Wang," 13 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 Students were being bused late Tuesday morning to nearby North Marshall Middle School, where parents could pick them up, the Marshall County Tribune-Courier reports. CBS News, "Kentucky shooting witnesses describe chaos at Marshall County High School," 23 Jan. 2018 Protesters are typically bused in to attend the rallies and given preprinted placards, with balloons for kids and T-shirts bearing the likeness of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei adding to a festival-like atmosphere. Ramin Mostaghim, latimes.com, "In 'Jerusalem Day' protest, Iranians burn effigy of President Trump dressed in an Israeli flag," 8 June 2018 But violence has reached record levels in Mexico, and the border states are particularly dangerous, which could put migrants at risk if U.S. authorities began busing Central Americans back into Mexico. Joshua Partlow, Washington Post, "U.S. and Mexico discussing a deal that could slash migration at the border," 10 July 2018 In earlier years, individuals caught crossing illegally were often simply bused back over the border without charges, especially people from Mexico without criminal records or previous immigration violations. Jazmine Ulloa, latimes.com, "Family separations at the border: How did we get here?," 19 June 2018 The students are being bused to Noblesville High School. Ryan Martin, Indianapolis Star, "Noblesville middle school shooting: 1 injured, shooter in custody," 25 May 2018 Last time, the jury was drawn from Pittsburgh and bused here after Mr. Cosby said he was worried that potential jurors in Montgomery County had been affected by pretrial publicity. Graham Bowley, New York Times, "Potential Cosby Jurors Are Asked About #MeToo Bias," 2 Apr. 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

Noun and Verb

short for omnibus

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Statistics for bus

Last Updated

20 Jun 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

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