Date: Thu, 30 Apr 1998 16:17:33 -0500
From: Shannon Detchemendy
Subject: Re: table-bussing

Being a former waitress, I have heard the term "bus" a lot. There is also
the term "pre-bus" used to describe when a waitress comes to your table
before you are ready to leave and takes your dirty plates etc... I do not
know the origins of either of these uses. I do know that both are still
frequently used in restaurant jargon.

Shannon Detchemendy

At 03:03 PM 4/30/98 GMT+1000, you wrote:
>Dining-room staff in such establishments as McDonalds, I'm assured,
>do a lot of table-bussing. That is, they clear and wipe clean the
>I'm also assured that this is a recent import into Australian English
>from American English. I had imagined that it was a development of
>buss = "kiss", until my colleague Bill Greaves (who's Canadian)
>told me about bus-boys. And the OED gives:
>Bus-boy: see Omnibus
>4. A man or boy who assists a waiter at an hotel, restaurant, etc.
>1888 Star 11 Aug. 4/5 To pay to what is known in a restaurant as an
>`omnibus', i.e. a lad that clears the tables.
>1897 Daily News 19 June 2/6 Omnibuses..apprentices- who wait on the
>Is anyone familiar with the use of "bus" as a simple verb or in such
>compounds as "table-bussing"? My inadequate selection of American
>dictionaries has revealed nothing as yet.
>David Blair
>Head of School
>English, Linguistics & Media
>Phone: 02 9850 8736 Fax: 02 9850 6900