Busman: British - bus driver
Holiday: British - day off, vacation

A busman's holiday is a vacation spent doing the same thing you do at work. For example, many E2 noders may have spent a day off from the tech support farm fixing a friend's computer.

The origins of the phrase are unclear. The most prosaic hypothesis is that a busman spends all day on a bus, and then when she decides to take a day off and enjoy the countryside -- has to get back on a bus.

Another explanation purportedly dates back to the 1800s, when buses were horse-drawn carriages. The drivers were said to be so dedicated that when they had a day off, they'd ride as passengers on their route to make sure that the substitute wasn't abusing their animals or hassling their riders.

A third story suggests that the phrase actually descends from the archaic slang buzz, to pickpocket. A buzzman always had her eyes open for a likely mark, and so was at work even when on holiday.


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