[PW] Name for the sign board on a public transit bus?

Susan Holmberg sholmberg5635 at hpplmail.onmicrosoft.com
Mon Nov 30 12:27:55 PST 2015

This sounds like a question for A Way with Words:


Think Sideways,

New Media Department
Highland Park Public Library

From: Project-Wombat-Open <project-wombat-open-bounces at lists.project-wombat.org> on behalf of Doug Anderson <andersdo at acdl.info>
Sent: Monday, November 30, 2015 2:11 PM
To: Project Wombat
Subject: [PW] Name for the sign board on a public transit bus?

Our patron seems to recall a specific name for the sign board on a public
transit bus that shows the bus route or destination.

The name he remembers sounds something like "McCattern" (rhymes with
"pattern", with the stress on the middle syllable) or "MacCaddern" or

I've found various sources that call it a "route sign", "sign board",
"headsign", "destination indicator", etc., but nothing that isn't
transparently a compound noun or noun phrase.

He was very certain that he had known this term since he was a child in the
1960s. He's from Ashtabula.

We found no results, using various conceivably plausible spellings, in any
of the dictionaries to which we have access, including the OED and the
Dictionary of American Regional English.

Google fails us. So do searches of visual dictionaries, reverse
dictionaries, various public-transit-driver training web sites, and phone
calls to the local public transit system (who calls it "the sign").

Any pointers? Any suggestions for where else to turn? Anybody recognize
what a McCattern might be?

Thanks in advance --

Doug A.

NOTE: Our oplin.org email has been discontinued. Please update your
contacts with this new email address: andersdo at acdl.info
Douglas Anderson, Reference Coordinator
Ashtabula County District Library
335 W. 44th St.
Ashtabula, OH 44004
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