Buses vs. busses

Hi all !

I was always wondering about plural of noun ‘bus’ in Haiku directory structure as it was
and it seemed a syntax error for me, who would think the plural for noun ‘bus’ is
in a right way.

So now, when I was reading FreeBSD description about their USB subsystem solution and saw the ‘busses’ also first I thought
“-Aham, they took this also from here ! …”, but also after a split second I suspected : there is something here …

… so I went to Google, my friend, to get some clearance :

buses or busses ?

Well, Merriam-Webster seemed enough well to have informed the right way – so I selected to be enlighted in this particular strange word :

Buses vs. Busses | Merriam-Webster

Khmm, …

… surprisingly it was correct, however it was not awkward I felt it wrong :


[Usage Notes]

Is it ‘Buses’ or ‘Busses’?

Hardly anyone uses ‘busses’ anymore—even if it does sound like the logical choice

What to Know

The plural of the noun bus is buses. You might see the plural busses, but that form is so rare that it seems like an error to many people. You might also see the verbs bussed and bussing, both of which are rare and also come across as an error to many people.

The plural of bus is buses. A variant plural, busses, is also given in the dictionary, but has become so rare that it seems like an error to many people.

Nevertheless, buses is problematic: it looks like fuses, but doesn’t rhyme with it. Abuses doesn’t rhyme in two different possible ways: the noun with the \s\ sound or the verb with the \z\ sound. Words that do rhyme with bus are usually spelled with a double s, like fusses or trusses.


Until 1961, ‘busses’ was the preferred plural of ‘bus’ in Merriam-Webster dictionaries. But the word ‘buss’ is a synonym of ‘kiss’. Perhaps it’s just as well that ‘buses’ took over.

Confusing the issue is the word buss, a synonym of kiss which could make for some funny interpretations of parking signs for buses. Buss meaning “kiss” seems to have evolved from the sound of giving a kiss, whereas bus meaning “a large vehicle for carrying passengers” is an abbreviation of omnibus, their original name, from the Latin word meaning “for all.”

When the word bus was new, the two plurals were in competition, but buses overtook busses in frequency in the 1930s, and today is the overwhelming choice of writers and editors. Busses was the preferred form in Merriam-Webster dictionaries until 1961.

As for the verb bus—which may mean either “to transport someone in a bus” or “to remove dirty dishes from [as from a table]”—we do recognize bussed and bussing as variants. But the decision to buss a customer’s table could cost you your job.


  This way finally I accept .../busses/...  is not a syntax error 

in Haiku directory tree, but some traditional usage in syntax. ;))

 However it will remain strange for me - :D
1 Like

Welcome to the English language.

One thing in Haiku that annoys me is the use of the word alright instead of all right. In British English this is regarded as an error, but American English tends to be more forgiving of diversity in spelling.

Already and altogether, however, are perfectly all right on both sides of the Atlantic.