- any of the scoops attached to or forming the endless chain in certain types of conveyors or elevators.
- the scoop or clamshell of a steam shovel, power shovel, or dredge.
- a vane or blade of a waterwheel, paddle wheel, water turbine, or the like.
- Informal.field goal.
- the part of the keyhole extending from the foul line to the end line.
verb (used with object), buck·et·ed, buck·et·ing.
verb (used without object), buck·et·ed, buck·et·ing.
Origin of bucket
Regional variation note
verb -kets, -keting or -keted
Word Origin for bucket
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").
drop in the bucket
A very small quantity, especially one that is too small. For example, These contributions are just a drop in the bucket; the new church wing will cost thousands more. John Wycliffe's followers used this seemingly modern phrase in their translation of the Bible (1382), and it also appears in the 1611 King James version (Isaiah 40:15): “Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance.”
see drop in the bucket; kick the bucket; rain cats and dogs (buckets); weep buckets.