Definition of bucket in English:



  • 1A roughly cylindrical open container with a handle, made of metal or plastic and used to hold and carry liquids.

    ‘a bucket and spade’
    ‘an ice bucket’
    • ‘We talked and examined the barrels and plastic buckets filled with fish, crabs and shiny squid.’
    • ‘He still dumps the milk in buckets and carries the buckets to the milk tank.’
    • ‘Students used buckets and bottles to carry water from a local stream to highlight the lack of clean water in the developing world.’
    • ‘Almost all containers - buckets, barrels, tanks - were made by coopers from various woods.’
    • ‘Sections of bamboo or plastic buckets are used to carry water from nearby streams for cooking and washing.’
    • ‘They would get up at five o'clock in the morning to milk 45 head of cattle with bucket-style milkers, and then carry the buckets to the milk coolers.’
    • ‘Women roll barrels and carry buckets containing materials needed for the construction of a reservoir.’
    • ‘The beans are poured from the buckets into smaller metal bins, and pickers are paid based on the number of bins they fill.’
    • ‘Requirements: tin buckets, plastic bags containing sufficient sand to half-fill each receptacle’
    • ‘These can be clay or plastic flower pots, buckets, milk or juice containers, or any similar container that holds a half gallon of water or so.’
    • ‘Enterprising youngsters collected the petrol in buckets and plastic cool-drink bottles before taking it away to their homes.’
    • ‘After he'd checked out the next morning he called the police on a payphone and told them he'd seen a boy out by the fields carrying a bucket and a packet of matches.’
    • ‘Subsistence-netters use small boats to gather the fish and bring them to the shore while others wade into the water to collect fish in buckets and plastic bags.’
    • ‘They give your child a Playstation when you bought theirs a plastic bucket and spade.’
    • ‘Separate plastic buckets carry the right and left harnesses.’
    • ‘The highway, right from Chennai, is full of trucks and vans from all over India, carrying everything from medicines to food to plastic buckets.’
    • ‘Transport the materials in a plastic bucket or pail to protect the pesticide container.’
    • ‘His attention wandered to the thin, almost rat-like man stepping up to the teller carrying a large metal bucket.’
    • ‘Wolf came back, carrying a bright red plastic bucket with a white handle.’
    • ‘If you do not feel comfortable about handling toads, a plastic bucket or similar container can be placed over the animal until someone else can assist.’
    pail, scuttle, can, tub, pitcher, vessel
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1The contents of a bucket or the amount it can contain.
      ‘she emptied a bucket of water over them’
      • ‘When I went to Washington at Christmas I brought with me, at my sister's request, a giant bucket of Maltesers, and we sat and ate them, one after another, for hours.’
      • ‘Soak the roots in a bucket of water for a couple of hours before planting if they are dry or if the stems seem shrivelled, then trim any damaged roots and cut back very long ones to about 30 cm.’
      • ‘One shot captures him pouring a bucket of money over his head.’
      • ‘So I bought us a large bucket of popcorn, two hot dogs, two patties, a coconut water for me, a soda for her, and two Nestle Crunch bars.’
      • ‘‘She even put my clothes and shoes in a bucket of water to prevent me from going out,’ he said, laughing.’
      • ‘We either throw them into bath tubs full of water, or drag them under a shower, or dump a bucket of water on them.’
      • ‘Later, the bucket of soothing buttermilk was delivered.’
      • ‘If, by any chance, you're in a dilemma about what dessert to serve after you've eaten your freedom fries, you may wish to consider a bucket of Star Spangled Ice Cream.’
      • ‘The happy couple had perched an enormous bucket of popcorn next to them, and as Hugo pirouetted into his seat, he managed to knock over the entire thing.’
      • ‘Another 100 people, each armed with a bucket of wax, then spent the morning preparing the foam and fibreglass super board.’
      • ‘She pointed to the counter where we kept the sugar, salt, anything she might have used as a seasoning, and the big bucket of well water we drank from.’
      • ‘And by the time she got to Vidya, a college student standing at a paan-bidi shop also saw what happened and rushed forward with a bucket of water.’
      • ‘You just grab a big bucket of buttered popcorn, sit back and watch.’
      • ‘Somebody should throw a bucket of water on them.’
      • ‘A bucket of soapy water, 7 bar towels and 2 rolls of paper towels later, the task was done.’
      • ‘Use a small amount of Kerosene in a bucket of water for a shiny finish rather than detergent.’
      • ‘I bet you could get a bucket of builders’ sand and mix it with oil to get the same effect.’
      • ‘If they answer ‘incorrectly,’ they get drenched by the bucket of water suspended from a stepladder above them.’
      • ‘He's too lazy to use a bucket of soapy water and a broom.’
      • ‘He then asked for a bucket of water and while inside the house grabbed the woman by the wrist and forced her to hand over £120 she was holding, causing bruising to her wrist.’
    2. 1.2informal Large quantities of something, especially liquid.
      ‘I wept buckets’
      • ‘Stores in London and Manchester we visited were selling them by the bucket: two London locations had sold out their stock entirely.’
      • ‘Despite the heavens opening and depositing buckets of rain a few times this weekend, the festival has been hugely successful.’
      • ‘Europeans come to the New World, Europeans buy big operations, Europeans lose buckets of money.’
      • ‘If it's subjective, biased, bad reporting people want, they can find that in buckets on the Net.’
      • ‘The company has lost buckets of money over the last year or so, and was forced to implement a survival plan, the most notable element of which was a £22m rights issue.’
      • ‘Chances are, you've already got buckets of MP3 files on your computer.’
      • ‘I've lost gallons of sweat and buckets of blood all for you.’
      floods, gallons, pints, oceans
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3A compartment on the outer edge of a waterwheel.
      ‘the Laxey wheel had 168 buckets, each holding 24 gallons’
      • ‘Water pours into the top bucket at a steady rate and gives the system energy while water leaks out of each bucket at a steady rate and removes energy from the system.’
      • ‘The wheel has 60 buckets each which can hold 200 lb water.’
      • ‘A wooden or metal wheel with paddles or buckets of some kind are attached to the outside so that when set in a watercourse it will rotate as a result of pressure from the movement of the water.’
      • ‘Every 60 seconds, a ball bearing drops from the left bucket on the channel to the waterwheel.’
      • ‘Too much water will make the buckets unstable and they may tip over.’
    4. 1.4The scoop of a dredger or grain elevator.
      ‘as the chain turns the buckets bite into the canal bed and scoop out the mud’
      • ‘As the belt with the buckets was lowered into the hold of a ship, the buckets would scoop up the grain and hoist it up into the structure where it was dropped into tall bins.’
      • ‘Small buckets or scoops are fixed to the belts at regular intervals and these carry the grain from the elevator bottom to the top. The capacity depends upon width of buckets, spacing and belt speed. Elevators’
      • ‘Inside the leg was a continuous belt on which small trapezoidal buckets were fastened, designed to carry grain to the elevator cupola where it was distributed to assigned bins through a spout operated by a manual guidance system in the driveway.’
      • ‘He then placed the buckets closer together and was then able to achieve 1800 or 2000 bushels an hour.’
      • ‘The grain would be lifted up in buckets attached to a conveyor belt to the top of the elevator and then distributed into storage bins by a movable spout.’
    5. 1.5A scoop attached to the front of a loader, digger, or tractor.
      • ‘Without it, the job would require an entire day and five laborers using a skid-steer loader with a bucket.’
      • ‘Of course, buckets were designed to scoop dirt, not wreck structures or collect and hoist the gangly debris.’
      • ‘Other attachments may include grading buckets, hydraulic breakers, plate compactors, augers, or rippers.’
      • ‘I started with an old bucket from a front-end loader and removed the teeth and the grapple fork.’
      • ‘You can use this attachment with a wide bucket to dig.’
      • ‘He was crushed to death when a loader bucket fell down a shaft on him.’
      • ‘So he called his dad who brought up the tractor, and he got into the digger bucket and they maneuvered it up high into the tree and rescued her.’
      • ‘His arm was crushed by a large bucket on a digger.’
      • ‘It has a hydraulic PTO and can directly power a four-in-one bucket and several attachments.’
      • ‘Tethers were attached to the bucket and backhoe of the Bobcat while others were secured to the machine itself.’
      • ‘It was just adapted for the removal of trees by attaching the bucket to the rear.’
      • ‘Besides demolition, BROKK machines could also remove debris with a bucket attachment.’
      • ‘A full investigation has been launched after a workman suffered severe arm injuries when he was crushed by a bucket on a digger at a recycling centre.’
      • ‘It has a small bucket on the front and hoe on the back, with an arm that lays over to drop the center of gravity for travel.’
      • ‘The crash investigator said one of the things he was trying to ascertain was the position of the tractor bucket at the time of the fatal crash earlier this month.’
      • ‘Increasingly, that's likely to require an attachment other than a bucket.’
      • ‘An ambulance spokesman told how the man was working in an eight-foot deep trench fitting pipes when a digger bucket fell on him.’
      • ‘This company also makes use of quick couplers on its loaders, so the bucket can quickly be attached or removed from the loader.’
      • ‘An attachable implement such as a loader bucket is attached to the actuator.’
      • ‘Usually, however, the most common miniexcavator attachments are buckets of varying sizes, breakers, and augers.’
  • 2Computing
    A unit of data that can be transferred from a backing store in a single operation.

    • ‘This selects buckets for redistributing data between nodes in a parallel database in the incremental mode.’
    • ‘However, it begins to fall apart if presentational elements do not fall easily into the predetermined buckets for each archetype.’
    • ‘Most hashes start small and dynamically resize over time as the lists of the buckets get too long.’
    • ‘The Kademlia distributed hash table goes further and orders the nodes in the bucket in terms of recorded uptime.’
    • ‘These caches can be thought of as simple hardware hash tables with fixed size buckets and no chaining, as shown in Figure 1.’


[NO OBJECT]informal
  • 1British Rain heavily.

    ‘it was still bucketing down’
    • ‘Sadly, the Full Circle weather system, having periodically bucketed on us in Africa, immediately finds us in Palau, and gleefully hurls stair-rods of rain on all and sundry for our first couple of days.’
    • ‘It was bucketing it down; the caravan site looked as if it had been hit by a mud slide; and we each needed two cardigans, a cagoule, thermal gloves and a balaclava to make it down to the seafront without contracting hypothermia.’
    • ‘In one hour, between midnight and 1am, almost one inch of rain bucketed down on the city.’
    • ‘But when we went to Norway we arrived wearing shorts and T-shirts to find it bucketing down with rain.’
    • ‘The weather was lovely - which was great because it bucketed rain on Thurady and Saturday.’
    • ‘Its been bucketing it down in these parts for the last few days.’
    • ‘The rain was bucketing down hard and showed no sign of letting up.’
    • ‘By the traditional Malayalam calendar, its Thulavarsham (the rain in Thulam) that is bucketing from the skies over Kerala, south interior Karnataka, Rayalaseema and Tamil Nadu.’
    • ‘Unfortunately we had reckoned without the Texas weather, which decided to bucket down with rain all morning.’
    • ‘Not a single ray of sunlight could be seen, the dusty blue-grey sky was covered in clouds the colour of charcoal, rain was bucketing down and a flash of lightning dashed across the sky.’
    • ‘Typical of the kind of weather we've been having this summer, the rain was bucketing down.’
    • ‘I just hope the sky clears a bit; it's very cloudy and been bucketing it down this afternoon.’
    • ‘By the time the early night rain was bucketing down on the pitch, Celtic were actually home and dry, spraying the ball around and running down the clock for a slender win, but one more victory nonetheless.’
    • ‘The more it bucketed, the more she beamed, perhaps hoping that viewers would admire her gleaming dentistry long enough for play to resume on Centre Court.’
    • ‘But with the rain bucketing down overnight and throughout the morning and early afternoon, there was little option but to abandon the remainder of the tournament.’
    • ‘On Saturday night last it bucketed rain once again but a dry Sunday allowed Markievicz Park in Sligo to dry off and the pitch was in great shape for the meeting of Corofin and Eastern Gaels in the first round of the Connacht Club S.F.C.’
    • ‘‘We were on our way into Leeds at around 12.30 pm and it was bucketing it down, buses were having to drive into the middle of The Headrow to keep out of the water,’ he said.’
    • ‘He thought about walking to the chemist but the rain was still bucketing down.’
    • ‘It was a wash out last year because of the weather, it absolutely bucketed it out of the sky.’
    • ‘It was very dark and bucketing down with rain when I had my first chance to drive the car a highly important outing to Burger King drive-thru.’
  • 2[with adverbial of direction] (of a vehicle) move quickly and jerkily.

    ‘the car came bucketing out of a side road’
    • ‘Jonathan Raban has become our Tocqueville, our Crevecoeur, as he has roamed South and West, riding a Mississippi raft, following railroad lines, and bucketing across the prairie and the plains in his old car.’
    • ‘That was the sign on the vestibule of the car we had just entered on the Oslo-Bergen express, bucketing across the snowy mountains of Norway.’
    • ‘So I held on to the string, and the whistle continued and the little train bucketed along like a mad thing till I was told to let go.’
    • ‘In the far off distance, a single vehicle was bucketing along the road, a brown cloud of dust boiling up behind it.’
    • ‘The Cuban driver swung out of town, and the bus bucketed along the narrow muddy road.’


  • tip (or drop or turn) the bucket on

    • informal Make damaging revelations about (someone or something)

      ‘a corporate whistle-blower wanting to tip the bucket on an unscrupulous employer’
      • ‘Let us not tip the bucket on a nation when we ourselves have been guilty of exactly the same type of approach to a problem.’
      • ‘Shirley was genuine, not one of the loudmouths who tip the bucket on the union.’
      • ‘I will not miss the opportunity to speak on a first reading motion again and to tip the bucket on Liberal Party crooks.’
      • ‘The incident made me want to tip the bucket on this kind of behaviour.’
      • ‘They'd really tip the bucket on him now.’
      • ‘She seems to know we're going to tip the bucket on her meal ticket.’
      • ‘They decided to tip the bucket on the bank's star planner.’
      • ‘He has always been prepared to tip the bucket on somebody who is down.’
      • ‘I'm not going to tip the bucket on anyone.’
      • ‘He won't be answering to any inquiries when he tips the bucket on scandal, skulduggery, or just general incompetence.’


Middle English: from Anglo-Norman French buquet tub, pail, perhaps from Old English būc ‘belly, pitcher’.