Who started throwing people under busses?

Photo credit: Antonio Manfredonio via Foter.com / CC BY-SA

You know those moments when you realize that the English language is strange and if our sayings have any literal meaning behind them, we are truly horrible people?

In light of that, what do you think are the origins of the phrase "threw someone under the bus"?

I don't want there to have been a time when people were ACTUALLY just throwing their supposed friends or colleagues under buses, because that's terrible, but then, most of our sayings seem to be based on some strange literal historical event (there actually was an Uncle Bob that the saying "Bob's your uncle" was based on, after all.)

Turns out that the history of throwing people under busses is actually really boring, and I admit that I am a bit disappointed by this fact.

It came from British politics, of all boring things. Apparently, in the 70's and 80's, politicians would play a game called Let's Kill the Leader where the current leader went "under the bus" and they would imagine what happened next. Sort of like the "what if our boss gets hit by a bus" succession planning conversations we have at my work, except I imagine these politicians were a bit more gleeful.

The first person got thrown under the bus (as far as anyone can tell) in 1982 when a journalist referred to President Galtieri pushing some lady-politician under the bus to get rid of her.

And now? There are imaginary busses getting people thrown under them everywhere! This must take a massive psychological toll on those poor fictional bus drivers.

Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary


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