I'm looking for a pair of words that represent the act of getting on or off some public transport (bus, train, ship, etc.) for an app. It should be:

  • Single word, not and expression like "get off".
  • As much generic as possible
  • Doesn't matter if it's not used regularly

Thought of embarkment/disembarkment, ascent/descent, boarding/deboarding.

  • Please explain why you must have single words. – Hot Licks Oct 15 '17 at 21:14

The words board and deboard are used for getting on and getting off planes, trains, ships, busses, etc.

From Oxford Dictionaries Online:

1 [with object] To get off (a train, aeroplane, etc.); to disembark from.
2 [no object] To get off a train, aeroplane, etc.; to disembark.

Board is moderately common, deboard is relatively rare. The phrasal verbs get on and get off are much more common than either.

  • I have never heard "deboard" used for a plane, or anything else. Perhaps it went out of fashion with "aeroplane"? – Shosht Oct 16 '17 at 0:19
  • @Shosht: the OP said he didn't care how common it was. I would have suggested disembark, but that sounds really odd to me if you're getting off a bus. – Peter Shor Oct 16 '17 at 2:42

To alight from a bus - remember the red double-deckers of London - which always had a little sign warning passengers not to alight from the bus when it was in motion! This was getting off the bus. These were also the days when half the rear section of the bus was "open" and had no closing doors. People used to take a great risk in running after a departing bus, jumping on at the last second and grabing the solid upright pole in what was sometimes a very alarming maneuver. Health & Safety!

Alight: "Descend from train, bus or other form of transport." [Oxford Dictionaries]

  • Yes the OED has some very old examples from Saxon England, pre-Norman conquest. literally it means "to make light" i.e. reduce the weight on e.g. the horse. OE Ælfric Catholic Homilies: 1st Ser. (Royal) (1997) xxvii. 408 Ic geseah þurh Godes gast, þa se þegen alihte of his cræte & eode togeanes þe. lOE Anglo-Saxon Chron. (Laud) (Peterborough contin.) anno 1123 Se kyng alihte dune of his hors & alehte hine [sc. the bishop] betwux his earmes. c1300 (▸?a1200) Laȝamon Brut (Otho) (1978) 13145 Adun hii gonne a-lihte of hire gode stedes. – WS2 Oct 15 '17 at 22:47
  • @WS2 I don't think Anglo-Saxon English has reached us here in the Land of Smiles (Thailand) but my local Skytrain station has signage warning passengers of the perils of alighting from the carriage, etc. Ho-hum – Peter Point Nov 13 '17 at 3:52
  • Though Siam was an independent state, a convenient buffer between French Indo-China and British Burma and Malaya, it will have been heavily influenced by the English of the Victorian period. Similarly to the London double-deckers, those of the Eastern Counties Omnibus Company, which took me to school in Norwich every day, had a sign painted in gothic script (making it doubly difficult to understand) which read Passengers alighting whilst the vehicle is in motion do so at their own risk. – WS2 Nov 13 '17 at 7:39
  • @WS2 We had those buses, red Routemasters, in the South Wales of my childhood. Evidently 'alighting' was the buzzword of the day although we did not enjoy the perils of trying to read Gothic script. British-English has given way to American-English here in Thailand, an inexorable transition replete with its own set of perils. Awesome, what? – Peter Point Nov 17 '17 at 1:16

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