Talk:like the back end of a bus

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History log from English Wikipedia[edit]

  • (cur) (last) 15:11, August 14, 2005 Loganberry ({{dicdef}})
  • (cur) (last) 11:52, August 14, 2005

RFV discussion[edit]

Discussed at Wiktionary:Requests for verification archive/July 2007#back of a bus.
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Were they trying for the English idiom "a face only a mother could love"? --Connel MacKenzie 18:28, 2 July 2007 (UTC)

This is another British idiom with two forms, comparing usually people but sometimes other things to the "back of a bus" or the "back end of a bus". It means that the person or thing being compared is ugly, or at least very unattractive. cites:
  • "back of a bus"
    • 2002, Simon Avery, a little buzzed, a lot cheesed off, alt.geek [1]
      My great-aunt just died 2 days ago. She was a catholic nun. Spent all her life in prayer. Fat lot of good it did anyone. The prevailing concept in the family was that with a face that looked like the "back of a bus" there was no way she could get married and there weren't that many other careers available for a woman at the time. I think that was one of the worst wastes I've seen in my life.
    • 2004, Robert B. Waltz, New Haven, Forest Hills R16 Rankings, [2]
      The fact is that a 16yo who's playing well and blitzing through the rankings is hot even if she has a face like the back of a bus and a body like a tank. Youth and novelty count for a lot to these guys.
    • 2005, "nemo", Beeb sports reporter mangles the English Language!, [3]
      The prettiest one of the lot - can't remember he name - turned out to be gay though and ended up going round with one with a face like the back of a bus!
  • "back end of a bus"
    • 2001, "Richard", "A sign of our times...", demon.local [4]
      Not really fighting over her (puns aside). When you get a current beau and an ex, full of booze and testosterone, meeting up, their common interest isn't much of an issue in the subsequent display of machismo. I think she looks like the back end of a bus but, to them, she was a 'possession'.
    • 2004, David Platt, "DUCHESS OF YORK NUDE", uk.politics.misc [5]
      You surely can't be comparing Alicia Witt with Sarah Fergusson? Alicia Witt looks stunning, while the duchess of Pork looks like the back end of a bus.
    • 2006, "sheelagh", "Bookie: Did you adopt the blind cat?", [6]
      As I once told him,being british,looking like the back end of a bus or weighing 30stone, was utterly irrevlevant to the posting i made
  • "back end of a bus, not a person"
    • 2002, "Tanuki the Raccoon-dog", I drove a..., [7]
      Must admit, I like the *original* 911s - the original, late-1960s ones back before they fitted bulgey wheelarches and silly tea-tray rear spoilers. They look much more like delicate, precision instruments compared with the later 'sledgehammer" versions [which IMHO are about as attractive as the back end of a bus].
Thryduulf 19:52, 2 July 2007 (UTC)
is the back end of this bus ugly?
These seem like entirely compositional similes; "back of a bus" is not actually used to mean anything other than the back of a bus. -- Visviva 04:15, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
If it is obvious that being compared to the "back (end) of a bus" means "ugly", rather than literally looking like the rear of a bus then perhaps it doesn't belong. I'm not certain that is obvious though. Thryduulf 08:44, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
It wouldn't be obvious to me. The question is, where should we define a stock simile like this? At like the back of a bus? —RuakhTALK 16:00, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
As it happens, one of my back burner projects is a standard simile appendix. (Surprised?) There are a lot of them, and I think it could be a useful resource. As black as coal. As white as snow. As strong as an ox. As ... as and like similies are quite hard to find, but the Wikt is ideal for producing this kind of resource and making it easy to use just by checking the headword adjective / adverb. ugly would lead the reader to As ugly as the back end of a bus. Algrif 16:29, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
But that phrase has only three Google hits and no g.b.c hits, whereas "like the back of a bus" has loads (and is a very well-known and understood phrase in the UK) SemperBlotto 16:58, 3 July 2007 (UTC) p.s. Old-fashioned double-deckers were asymmetrical at the back with an open platform at the bottom left - such faces are normally thought to be ugly.
For what it's worth, here's a print quotation for the like (adjective) use:
    • 2005: Will Hadcroft, Anne Droyd And Century Lodge
      ‘You’ve got a face like the back end of a bus,’ he spat, his eyes raw and burning. Then he grinned, his yellow-stained teeth spreading across his mush [...]
...and here's an example of it as a noun:
    • 2003: Glen Duncan, I, Lucifer
      Adam was no back end of a bus either — the sloe eyes and sculpted cheekbones, the tight buns and chiselled pecs, the abdominals like a cluster of golden [...]
— Beobach972 17:03, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
I don't think I've ever heard (or noticed) this British idiom before. Given the abundant (diverse) citations, I think it is fair to say "rfvpassed." --Connel MacKenzie 06:52, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
Except it is wrong as it stands. The expression is "like the back end of a bus" (adjective phrase), not just "back of a bus" (noun phrase). The definition is for this adjective phrase. I'll change it and let the current entry redirect to the full phrase. — Paul G 11:14, 13 July 2007 (UTC)
Actually, there are two forms of the idiom, used in the same manner. I am familar with "back end of a bus", but "back end of a bus" is just as verifiable. Thryduulf 11:35, 13 July 2007 (UTC)

RFV passed.RuakhTALK 01:00, 18 October 2007 (UTC)

Additional citation[edit]

    • 2011, Henry Law, "Back end of a bus" needs to be understood in relation to the design of buses when the phrase was first used. Until the mid-1930s, double deck buses had open staircases and their rear-end appearance was asymmetrical and untidy.

—This unsigned comment was added by Physiocrat (talkcontribs)., originally into the archived text above