Many of us have heard the word omnibus. Omnibus means “for everything” or “for all”. We mostly associate the word with politics. An omnibus bill is a proposed law that covers a number of diverse or unrelated topics. Omnibus bills have sometimes been used to pass controversial amendments.
But did you know that the word “bus” is a clipped form of the word omnibus? It first appeared in Paris in 1819-20 as (voiture) omnibus meaning “carriage for all”, and appeared in London in 1829. One etymology (the study of the origin of words) holds that omnibus is derived from a hatter’s shop which was situated in front of one of the first bus stations in Nantes, France in 1823. “Omnes Omnibus” was a pun on the Latin-sounding name of that hatter Omnes: omnes meaning “all” and omnibus meaning “for all” in Latin. Citizens of Nantes, France soon gave the nickname Omnibus to the vehicle that passed the shop everyday. In later years the word was shortened to “bus”.