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[buhk-it] /ˈbʌk ɪt/
a deep, cylindrical vessel, usually of metal, plastic, or wood, with a flat bottom and a semicircular bail, for collecting, carrying, or holding water, sand, fruit, etc.; pail.
anything resembling or suggesting this.
  1. any of the scoops attached to or forming the endless chain in certain types of conveyors or elevators.
  2. the scoop or clamshell of a steam shovel, power shovel, or dredge.
  3. a vane or blade of a waterwheel, paddle wheel, water turbine, or the like.
(in a dam) a concave surface at the foot of a spillway for deflecting the downward flow of water.
a bucketful:
a bucket of sand.
  1. Informal. field goal.
  2. the part of the keyhole extending from the foul line to the end line.
Bowling. a leave of the two, four, five, and eight pins, or the three, five, six, and nine pins.
verb (used with object), bucketed, bucketing.
to lift, carry, or handle in a bucket (often followed by up or out).
Chiefly British. to ride (a horse) fast and without concern for tiring it.
to handle (orders, transactions, etc.) in or as if in a bucket shop.
verb (used without object), bucketed, bucketing.
Informal. to move or drive fast; hurry.
drop in the bucket, a small, usually inadequate amount in relation to what is needed or requested:
The grant for research was just a drop in the bucket.
drop the bucket on, Australian Slang. to implicate, incriminate, or expose.
kick the bucket, Slang. to die:
His children were greedily waiting for him to kick the bucket.
Origin of bucket
1250-1300; Middle English buket < Anglo-French < Old English bucc (variant of būc vessel, belly; cognate with German Bauch) + Old French -et -et
Regional variation note
Though both bucket and pail are used throughout the entire U.S., pail has its greatest use in the Northern U.S., and bucket is more commonly used elsewhere, especially in the Midland and Southern U.S. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for bucketed
Historical Examples
  • I've bucketed him up hill and down dale; obliged to, you know.

    Nell, of Shorne Mills

    Charles Garvice
  • I knew it was hopeless; even as I did so he bucketed and failed to respond.

    Fanny Goes to War Pat Beauchamp
  • I took the first turning, and bucketed along a narrow woodland road.

    Greenmantle John Buchan
  • We felt no kinship to those at home who clung to creature comforts while we bucketed among the stars risking our lives and more.

    The Peacemaker Alfred Coppel
  • Order was quickly restored, the blazing sail was torn down and bucketed, and the terrified sailors came back to their posts.

  • And outside the winch groaned and squeaked, down below the pump thumped and bucketed.

    Command William McFee
  • We bucketed down that hillside like men possessed, even Blenkiron sticking on manfully among the twists and turns and slithers.

    Greenmantle John Buchan
British Dictionary definitions for bucketed


an open-topped roughly cylindrical container; pail
Also called bucketful. the amount a bucket will hold
any of various bucket-like parts of a machine, such as the scoop on a mechanical shovel
a cupped blade or bucket-like compartment on the outer circumference of a water wheel, paddle wheel, etc
(computing) a unit of storage on a direct-access device from which data can be retrieved
(mainly US) a turbine rotor blade
(Austral & NZ) an ice cream container
(slang) kick the bucket, to die
verb -kets, -keting, -keted
(transitive) to carry in or put into a bucket
(intransitive) often foll by down. (of rain) to fall very heavily: it bucketed all day
(mainly Brit) (intransitive) often foll by along. to travel or drive fast
(transitive) (mainly Brit) to ride (a horse) hard without consideration
(transitive) (Austral, slang) to criticize severely
Word Origin
C13: from Anglo-French buket, from Old English būc; compare Old High German būh belly, German Bauch belly
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for bucketed



mid-13c., from Anglo-French buquet "bucket, pail," from Old French buquet "bucket," which is from a Germanic source, or a diminutive of cognate Old English buc "pitcher, bulging vessel," originally "belly" (buckets were formerly of leather as well as wood), both from West Germanic *buh- (cf. Dutch buik, Old High German buh, German Bauch "belly"), from PIE *bhou-, variant of root *bheu- "to grow, swell" (see be).

Kick the bucket "to die" (1785) perhaps is from unrelated Old French buquet "balance," a beam from which slaughtered animals were hung; perhaps reinforced by the notion of suicide by hanging after standing on an upturned bucket (but Farmer calls attention to bucket "a Norfolk term for a pulley").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for bucketed



  1. A car, esp a big, old car (1930s+)
  2. A ship, esp an old and slow ship; rust bucket (1840s+ Merchant marine & Navy)
  3. A destroyer; can, tin can (Navy by WWII)
  4. The buttocks; rump: Knocked him on his bucket (1930s+)
  5. The basketball net (1920s+ Basketball)
  6. A basketball goal: He'll make ten buckets a game (1920s+ Basketball)
  7. The rearmost part of the batter's box •The source expression was ''have his foot in the water-bucket'': had his foot way back in the bucket/ Emily steps into the bucket when going for a pitch (1913+ Baseball)
  8. Jail: These days, the Gray Bar Motel is a synonym for ''the bucket,'' which means jail (1990s+ Los Angeles police)


To speed; barrel: The kids were bucketing along (1860s+)

Related Terms

brain bucket, someone can't carry a tune in a bucket, drop one's buckets, for crying out loud, go to hell in a handbasket, gutbucket, kick the bucket, lard-bucket, rust bucket, sleaze-bucket, slimebag

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with bucketed
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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