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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.

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.

(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.

Informal. field goal.
the part of the keyhole extending from the foul line to the end line.

bucket seat.
Bowling. a leave of the two, four, five, and eight pins, or the three, five, six, and nine pins.
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.
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.
Contemporary Examples

9 Things We Learned About Katie Couric Maria Elena Fernandez July 25, 2012
Christmas With My Son With Autism Caren Zucker December 22, 2010
Annie Leibovitz Talks About ‘Pilgrimage,’ Susan Sontag, Vogue & More Justin Jones November 19, 2014
From Baltimore Ravens Cheerleader to Mrs. Robinson Brandy Zadrozny November 5, 2014
Interview With Hall Pass Directors Farrelly Brothers Chris Lee February 21, 2011

Historical Examples

Whispering Smith Frank H. Spearman
Her Father’s Daughter Gene Stratton-Porter
The Modern Railroad Edward Hungerford
Classic Myths Mary Catherine Judd
The Harvester Gene Stratton Porter

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

A car, esp a big, old car (1930s+)
A ship, esp an old and slow ship; rust bucket (1840s+ Merchant marine & Navy)
A destroyer; can, tin can (Navy by WWII)
The buttocks; rump: Knocked him on his bucket (1930s+)
The basketball net (1920s+ Basketball)
A basketball goal: He’ll make ten buckets a game (1920s+ Basketball)
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)
Jail: These days, the Gray Bar Motel is a synonym for ”the bucket,” which means jail (1990s+ Los Angeles police)


drop in the bucket
kick the bucket
rain cats and dogs (buckets)
weep buckets


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    water bench. a Pennsylvania Dutch dresser having a lower portion closed with doors for milk pails, an open shelf for water pails, and an upper section with shallow drawers.

  • Bucket-brigade

    a line of persons formed to extinguish a fire by passing on buckets of water quickly from a distant source. any group of persons who cooperate to help cope with an emergency. Historical Examples The Girl Scouts at Camp Comalong Lillian Garis Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom Cory Doctorow Down and Out in […]

  • Bucket-ladder

    noun a series of buckets that move in a continuous chain, used to dredge riverbeds, etc, or to excavate land (as modifier): a bucket-ladder dredger Historical Examples Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 8, Slice 7 Various Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 8, Slice 7 Various Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 8, Slice 7 Various

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