Definition of charabanc in English:



  • An early form of bus, used typically for pleasure trips.

    • ‘This was a spontaneous movement of ordinary people, produced partly by a growing scholarly interest in astronomical associations at the site, and partly by inventions such as the bicycle and the charabanc.’
    • ‘You don't take off in a charabanc at 5.30 am on a Sunday lightly.’
    • ‘The team returned to Skipton and travelled by charabanc past cheering crowds to a reception at the town hall.’
    • ‘The Morecambe Silver Band met the special trains at Kendal Station and the children were marched to New Road, where a procession was formed with the younger ones being carried on charabancs and lorries.’
    • ‘They invested £200 in an ex-army charabanc that cost them a further £586 to repair and restore, which was just the start of their fleet of vehicles.’
    • ‘Only in recent years would the lesser team have more fittingly arrived in a charabanc than a team bus.’
    • ‘Every year, since it started, British hacks have had a choice of charabancs and chemin-de-fers to take them to the gruesome National Exhibition Centre just outside Birmingham.’
    • ‘I plan to take a charabanc of my friends there shortly.’
    • ‘With Jack away on one of his charabanc trips, Andy Kerr had a fit and said we should send some of the ‘boys’ round to kick in a few doors.’
    • ‘Many English seaside towns seem as if they are stuck in a time warp, in an era when families and charabancs full of factory workers would converge on the shore for fun and frolics.’
    • ‘Gilliam noted, ‘In Britain, it was banned in different towns; what that meant was that people in those towns organised charabancs and went to the neighbouring town where it was showing.’’
    • ‘All he had ever seen of Skipton was, as a boy, pressing his nose to the windows of a charabanc as he and his family passed through the town on the way to their annual holidays in Morecambe.’
    • ‘‘Let's get the charabanc out and take the whole town to Tamworth,’ smiles Harvey.’
    • ‘By clever design, the same basic Sheppee body could be used as a charabanc to transport passengers or converted into a goods wagon.’
    • ‘We used to have a caravan at Knott End and went there every summer in a charabanc.’
    • ‘We set out at a cracking pace and met only charabancs overloaded with defiant voters.’
    • ‘Many ‘set off’ for a week, usually to Blackpool or Morecambe, travelling on specially laid-on holiday trains or the slower-but cheaper charabanc.’
    • ‘Such was his befuddlement at that stage that the supporter could not trace his shoes, so rather than miss the bus to the city, he ran downstairs and jumped aboard the charabanc.’
    • ‘Even so, annual leave was spreading more generally through society, as was the use of the car and other motorised forms of transport such as the charabanc.’
    • ‘The plot centres around the annual charabanc trip to Whitby by a group of Nottinghamshire 60-year-olds.’
    bus, minibus, van
    View synonyms


Early 19th century: from French char-à-bancs ‘carriage with benches’ (the original horse-drawn charabancs having rows of bench seats).