[Ads-l] Antedating busboy (bus boy) and "omnibus boy"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Jul 12 10:44:42 EDT 2017


> On Jul 12, 2017, at 10:31 AM, Dan Goncharoff <thegonch at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> 
> So when did bus boys start bussing trays?

And can we be sure they were bus(s)ing them and not bussing them?  Got me wondering about “buss”, v.  It’s been around since at least the mid 16th c., and there’s an interesting contrast (as predicted by Bréal’s Law of Differentiation and corollaries by Bolinger et al.), if a subtle one, between “buss" and “kiss”.  Here are two of the OED’s cites, one literal and one figurative, from two masters of the language:

1648   R. Herrick Hesperides sig. P6   Kissing and bussing differ both in this; We busse our Wantons, but our Wives we kisse.

1609   Shakespeare Troilus & Cressida iv. vii. 103   Yon towers, whose wanton tops do busse the clouds, Must kisse their owne feete.

So better watch out when those busboys are bussing.

LH
> 
> On Jul 12, 2017 3:37 AM, "W Brewer" <brewerwa at gmail.com> wrote:
> 
>> WG:  << So, _bus_ is from "omnibus" and _bus boy_ is from "omnibus boy,"
>> because
>> both are "for everybody." >>
>> 
>> WB:  Here's how I look at it.  (*vehiculum) omnibus > bus (public
>> transportation for all social classes).
>> Bus boy (restaurant factotum).
>> 
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>> 
> 
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org


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