Friday Fun: Hit by a Bus

In 2009, Slate’s Explainer asked and answered: “When did getting “hit by a bus” become the standard image of unexpected catastrophe?”

They credit Joseph Conrad, more specifically his protagonist (of sorts), Mr. Verloc, with the earliest accident-related usage:

But just try to understand that it was a pure accident; as much an accident as if he had been run over by a ‘bus while crossing the street.

Of course, if the assertion’s accurate, it certainly took a long time for the two meanings to, um, collide. “Buses” – at least those capable of running people over – apparently started careening around as early as the 1600s.

Read the rest of the article and decide for yourself. (Regardless of how it came about, the usage sure is popular in movies!)

Share

Tags: , , , ,