Automotive: August 2009 Archives

Greyhound Brand Name Goes Back to England

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The news that Greyhound buses are going to the UK caught my eye this morning, not least because when I think of England, I think of red double deckers and not "riding the 'hound".

greyhound-bus-logo250.jpgBut it's happening. The owner of Greyhound UK also owns the USA Bolt bus brand but chose to use the Greyhound brand name in the UK because ""the Greyhound name has a greater resonance."

That's true, but it's also a distinctly American brand. Still, the Greyhound name holds a great deal of romance for Europeans because so many tourists use them on visits to the USA and American movies have made them legendary.

The Financial Times reminisces about Bob Dylan's lyric "cruisin' down the highway in a Greyhound bus" and the brand owner is well aware of the name's nostalgic resonance. The buses will be named after American songs like "Sweet Caroline," "Peggy Sue" and "Jolene", even though these upscale vehicles really are not much like the trusty Americruisers we all know.

I am interested in the Greyhound name: that word "grey" (which doesn't make it past my American spell checker) is distinctly British.

Americans often favor the word "gray". So why don't we have "Grayhound" buses over here? In fact, the word "greyhound" comes from the Old English word "grighund". "Hund" is the precursor to the word "hound", of course, but nobody really knows what "grig" means.

It certainly doesn't mean "grey": in fact many greyhounds aren't even grey, or, er, gray. "Grig" simply morphed into the word "grey" over time and the name stuck, right down the the gray/grey hound on the side of the buses.

Seems this brand name is coming home.

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