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Throw under the bus

Posted by Smokey Stover on October 07, 2008 at 15:58

In Reply to: Throw under the bus posted by Sally See on October 07, 2008 at 09:03:

: What is the origin of "throw under the bus"? Very popular on so-called reality shows.

This is a very common question among etymologists and journalists. It seems that the former believe that the phrase evolved either from a comment by Cyndi Lauper in 1984, using the words "under the bus" but without any throwing or pushing, or from sports jargon connected with the team bus, which you could be either on or under. Once someone used the phrase in its present form, possibly in 1990 (when it turned up in print), meaning to give the toss to some inconvenient friend, acquaintance or employee, sacrificing them to your own needs, the phrase caught on and has reached its present ubiquity.

There are many ways to express giving someone the toss, from the Defenestration of Prague to the current "kick her to the curb," which means dump her. This phrase, too, is a modern growth which, one hopes, will reach its apogee and then sink back into the primordial soup.