The Plural of Bus: Here’s What It Is and How to Use It

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Why Is It Buses Instead of Busses?

You can find a few sources saying that busses is still an alternative spelling of buses, however, the most preferred plural and correct form is buses.

There is speculation as to whether or not the alternative plural of the noun bus “busses” was not used as frequently because it had another meaning. In modern English, it is not commonly used but buss is a word meaning kiss. So the only plural of buss is busses. Whether or not this is what leads to most people gravitating to the plural form buses is only hypothetical but interesting nonetheless. So just because you see the word “buss” “busses” or “bussing” doesn’t mean that it’s a misspelling. 

What Is the Definition of the Word Bus?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionaries list, the word bus has these definitions and uses. 

  • 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
  • Automobile
  • A small hand truck
  • Electrical engineering
  • Computers: a set of parallel conductors in a computer system that forms the main transmission path
  • A spacecraft or missile that carries one or more detachable devices (such as warheads)
  • Throw someone under the bus informal
    • 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 underlines, whom he quickly threw under the bus. – Rem Rieder
  • Bus – Verb form
    • To travel by a large motor vehicle designed to carry passengers usually along a fixed route according to a schedule: to travel by bus
    • To work as a bus boy – to remove (busing) dirty dishes 

What Is the Plural Form of the Word Bus?

The usual plural of bus is buses. It is so much more commonly used in the English language that most people would probably tell you that you are spelling it wrong if you use the spelling busses. 

Busses is referenced in some dictionaries as an alternative spelling of the plural form of bus in the American English language but not as common in other varieties of English. So it is up to you to decide which spelling you would like to use. There are not many articles out there showing journalists use the alternative spelling, especially in comparison to the amount of times you can find it spelled buses. 

The History and Origin of the Word

 In 1661 Blaise Pascal created the first bus service. This bus service was composed of a number of coaches in Paris, France that would travel along the same course of roads and pick up pedestrians for the world’s first bus fare. This idea was revolutionary at the time.

This invention came at a time where coaches were not a normal means of transportation, you might hire a coach to go somewhere at a far distance but the fee would still have been too much for the common citizens. This new system was groundbreaking because it allowed everyone in Paris to have the chance to regularly (and cheaply) ride by coach.

This logically explains the naming of this new system developed by Blaise Pascal, the original term used was omnibus, which means for everybody. Bus is an abbreviation of the word which is now synonymous with public transportation. Pascal did come up with the idea of the bus system of transportation but he did not coin the name. The first instances of the word bus being used in the way we use it today are dated back to the early 1800s. 

Example Sentences of the Word in Context

Synonyms of Bus

  • Passenger bus
  • Motrobus – passenger bus that is driven by motor
  • Omnibus – for everyone, also used to describe all the episodes in broadcasting shown in the week prior
  • Motor-coach
  • Autobus is commonly used in other languages

Types of Buses

  • Shuttle-bus
  • Tour-bus
  • Van
  • Coach – commonly used to describe a hired bus in the United Kingdom
  • Jitney – hired bus or car traveling a regular route
  • Motor Coach
  • Sightseeing-bus
  • School-bus
  • Charabanc – early type of bus in the UK

Transportation for All

Hopefully, you know are well versed in the plural forms of bus in the English language and also learned a bit more about bus(s)es.