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char-à-banc

[shar-uh-bang, -bangk; French sha-ra-bahn] /ˈʃær əˌbæŋ, -ˌbæŋk; French ʃa raˈbɑ̃/
noun, plural char-à-bancs
[-bangz, -bangks; French sha-ra-bahn] /-ˌbæŋz, -ˌbæŋks; French ʃa raˈbɑ̃/ (Show IPA).
British
1.
a large bus used on sightseeing tours, especially one with open sides and no center aisle.
Also, charabanc.
Origin
1810-1820
1810-20; back formation from French char-à-bancs literally, car with benches, the -s being taken as plural ending of word as a whole
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for charabanc

charabanc

/ˈʃærəˌbæŋ; French ʃarabɑ̃/
noun
1.
(Brit, obsolete) a motor coach, esp one used for sightseeing tours
Word Origin
C19: from French char-à-bancs, wagon with seats
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for charabanc
n.

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.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for charabanc

(from French char a bancs: "wagon with benches"), long, four-wheeled carriage with several rows of forward-facing seats, originated in France in the early 19th century. It was pulled by up to six horses and was used by private owners to convey guests on excursions. It was soon adopted in England, where two horses were used. As afterward modified in England for public transport, it was entered from the rear and had five or more rows of seats. Today sight-seeing motor coaches in Great Britain are sometimes called charabancs.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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