Maybe I have a warped sense of humour but this phrase always gives me a very literal image.
I heard it a few weeks ago via a friend in the middle of a tough project, there have been words in the project board and the only consolation he could draw from the meeting was “well at least they didn’t throw me under the bus”.
The origins are murky, according to the Word Detective, the first sighting in print was only in 1991. He proposes two possible origins; one relates to sports managers chivvying their team members to be “on the bus or under it”, the second is a more generic city scene with buses racing around corners.
Whatever the origins it has come to have the association of a person being sacrificed in a crisis. In my friend’s case his bosses could have blamed him for all the projects faults and kicked him off the project. Then pointed at him as the source of the project’s failure. Instead he had to deal with a tough conversation, but ultimately got some help that (fingers crossed) will turn the project around.
What about you, is this a term you use?