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 When Perez was done talking to fellow protest leaders and others who congratulating him on a job well done, the Detroit teen walked down Michigan Avenue to catch the bus bound for home. Branden Hunter, Detroit Free Press, "16-year-old emerges as a leader at Detroit's Monday protest: 'I felt I made a mark'," 2 June 2020 People wear one on the bus or train, during shopping trips or at doctor’s appointments. Stella Marie Hombach, Scientific American, "From behind the Coronavirus Mask, an Unseen Smile Can Still Be Heard," 1 June 2020 Exercise self-discipline and discretion so that you don't get thrown under the bus if things go wrong, especially when involved in a group situation. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive, "Horoscope for June 1, 2020: Gemini, careful with the flirting; Sagittarius, you’ll be spread too thin," 1 June 2020 There’s no more waking up and going to the bus, seeing your friends at school, doing assignments every day. Marco Della Cava, USA TODAY, "Latino homes report serious COVID-19 symptoms nearly twice as often, survey of 1.6 million shows," 1 June 2020 That officer, Mohamed Noor, holds the dubious honor of being the only Minneapolis police officer to be convicted in an on-duty, fatal shooting, and Kroll drew criticism for throwing said officer, who is Black, under the bus. Kim Kelly, The New Republic, "No More Cop Unions," 29 May 2020 How will schools maintain distance between students in class, on the bus, in the cafeteria, in the hallways? Olivia Krauth, The Courier-Journal, "Lunch in classrooms, no roommates in a dorm? What Kentucky education may look like this fall," 28 May 2020 Riders don’t have to wait for a bus on a fixed route or follow a schedule. Anna Beahm | Abeahm@al.com, al, "Birmingham On-Demand pilot extended through June 30," 27 May 2020 As the gear was ready to be loaded on the bus, Cave Spring coach Jacob Gruse assembled the players and informed them that their season was over. Washington Post, "Recent high school grads help the cause on the front lines," 24 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 About 1,220 people attended, some bused in and others driving more than 100 miles to attend, Spell told CNN. Deanna Hackney, CNN, "Churches hold Palm Sunday services despite state bans on gatherings," 5 Apr. 2020 By Tuesday, California officials began to allow more passengers to leave the ship and some were sent to hotels to begin their 14-day quarantine, while other U.S. passengers were flown or bused to military bases in California, Texas and Georgia. Tessa Duvall, The Courier-Journal, "Kentucky woman aboard Grand Princess says she still hasn't been tested for coronavirus," 14 Mar. 2020 But as those passengers were bused to Haneda Airport in Tokyo early Monday morning, Japanese officials told American counterparts that laboratory tests for 14 passengers had come back positive, Dr. Walters said. Edward Wong, New York Times, "Trump Was Furious That Passengers With Coronavirus Were Brought Back to U.S.," 10 Mar. 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. Olga R. Rodriguez, BostonGlobe.com, "National Guard sent into New York suburb to help control virus," 10 Mar. 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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Learn More about bus

Statistics for bus

Last Updated

5 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Bus.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bus. Accessed 5 Jun. 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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