[shar-uh-bang, -bangk; French sha-ra-bahn]
noun, plural char-à-bancs [-bangz, -bangks; French sha-ra-bahn] . British.
a large bus used on sightseeing tours, especially one with open sides and no center aisle.
Also, charabanc.

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 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
charabanc (ˈʃærəˌbæŋ, French ʃarabɑ̃)
obsolete (Brit) a motor coach, esp one used for sightseeing tours
[C19: from French char-à-bancs, wagon with seats]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

British for "sightseeing bus," early 19c., from Fr. char-à-bancs, lit. "benched carriage," from char "wagon," from L. carrus (see car).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


(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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