• synonyms


noun, plural bus·es, bus·ses.
  1. a large motor vehicle, having a long body, equipped with seats or benches for passengers, usually operating as part of a scheduled service; omnibus.
  2. a similar horse-drawn vehicle.
  3. a passenger automobile or airplane used in a manner resembling that of a bus.
  4. any vehicle operated to transport children to school.
  5. a low, movable filing cabinet.
  6. Electricity. Also called bus bar, bus·bar [buhs-bahr] /ˈbʌsˌbɑr/. a heavy conductor, often made of copper in the shape of a bar, used to collect, carry, and distribute powerful electric currents, as those produced by generators.
  7. Computers. a circuit that connects the CPU with other devices in a computer.
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verb (used with object), bused or bussed, bus·ing or bus·sing.
  1. to convey or transport by bus: to bus the tourists to another hotel.
  2. to transport (pupils) to school by bus, especially as a means of achieving socioeconomic or racial diversity among students in a public school.
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verb (used without object), bused or bussed, bus·ing or bus·sing.
  1. to travel on or by means of a bus: We bused to New York on a theater trip.
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  1. throw under the bus. throw(def 57).
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Origin of bus1

1825–35; short for omnibus; (def 6) short for omnibus bar
Can be confusedbussed bust


verb (used with or without object), bused or bussed, bus·ing or bus·sing.
  1. to work or act as a busboy or busgirl: She bused for her meals during her student days.
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Origin of bus2

First recorded in 1830–40; back formation from busboy
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for buses


noun plural buses or busses
  1. a large motor vehicle designed to carry passengers between stopping places along a regular routeMore formal name: omnibus Sometimes called: motorbus
  2. short for trolleybus
  3. (modifier) of or relating to a bus or busesa bus driver; a bus station
  4. informal a car or aircraft, esp one that is old and shaky
  5. electronics computing short for busbar
  6. the part of a MIRV missile payload containing the re-entry vehicles and guidance and thrust devices
  7. astronautics a platform in a space vehicle used for various experiments and processes
  8. miss the bus to miss an opportunity; be too late
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verb buses, busing, bused, busses, bussing or bussed
  1. to travel or transport by bus
  2. mainly US and Canadian to transport (children) by bus from one area to a school in another in order to create racially integrated classes
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Word Origin

C19: short for omnibus
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for buses



1832, abbreviation of omnibus (q.v.). The modern English noun is nothing but a Latin dative plural ending. To miss the bus, in the figurative sense of "lose an opportunity," is from 1901, Australian English (OED has a figurative miss the omnibus from 1886). Busman's holiday "leisure time spent doing what one does for a living" (1893) is probably a reference to London bus drivers riding the buses on their days off.

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1838, "to travel by omnibus," from bus (n.). Transitive meaning "transport students to integrate schools" is from 1961, American English. Meaning "clear tables in a restaurant" is first attested 1913, probably from the four-wheeled cart used to carry dishes. Related: Bused; busing.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper