Find the word definition

Crossword clues for charabanc

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ In the early days the novelty must have outweighed the discomfort, or no one would have travelled in the first charabancs.
▪ Most of the fathers chickened out, piling into the charabanc which held adults and adolescents.
▪ The advent of motor coaches enabled many deaf institutes to organise outings and charabanc trips.
▪ The driver started the engine and engaged the gears with a crash and the charabanc lurched away.
▪ The People's car: hundreds of day-trippers brave the discomfort of a fleet of charabancs at Plymouth in 1922.
▪ There were rare excursions to seaside or country by train or charabanc, or the occasional boat trip on Lough Neagh.
▪ They stood watching the Natural Leader shepherd the little children and their exhausted parents into the charabanc.
Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

British for "sightseeing bus," 1811, originally in a Continental context (especially Swiss), from French char-à-bancs, literally "benched carriage," from char "wagon," from Latin carrus (see car) + à "to" (see ad-) + banc "bench" (see bench (n.)).


n. A horse-drawn, and then later, motorized omnibus with open sides, and often, no roof.


n. a vehicle carrying many passengers; used for public transport; "he always rode the bus to work" [syn: bus, autobus, coach, double-decker, jitney, motorbus, motorcoach, omnibus]


A charabanc or "char-à-banc" (often pronounced "sharra-bang" in colloquial British English) is a type of horse-drawn vehicle or early motor coach, usually open-topped, common in Britain during the early part of the 20th century. It has "benched seats arranged in rows, looking forward, commonly used for large parties, whether as public conveyances or for excursions." It was especially popular for sight-seeing or " works outings" to the country or the seaside, organised by businesses once a year. The name derives from the Frenchchar à bancs ("carriage with wooden benches"), the vehicle having originated in France in the early 19th century.

Although the vehicle has not been common on the roads since the 1920s, a few signs survive from the era; a notable example at Wookey Hole in Somerset warns that the road to the neighbouring village of Easton is unsuitable for charabancs. The word 'charabanc' was in common usage until the middle of the 20th century but was deleted as obsolete from the pocket edition of the Collins Dictionary in 2011. The word is in common usage especially in Northern England in a jocular way referring to works outings by coach.

In Australia a modern similar type of bus or motorcoach, with a lateral door for each row of seats, survived up to the 1970s and was referred to as side loader bus; but all or most of them were not open-topped.

Usage examples of "charabanc".

On such nights, the dingy dwellings of Spittalfields and Whitechapel still seem to belong to the Huguenot silk-weavers, the prim backstreets of Kensington appear eternally Edwardian, and the houses of the Chelsea embankment, primped with gothic trimmings and standing in Sunday finery like a charabanc of ruddy-faced matrons, remain the province of the Pre-Raphaelites.

Special quick excursion trains and upholstered charabancs had been provided for the comfort of our country cousins of whom there were large contingents.