Definition of bucket in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈbəkət/


1A roughly cylindrical open container, typically made of metal or plastic, with a handle, used to hold and carry liquids or other material.
Example sentences
  • Sections of bamboo or plastic buckets are used to carry water from nearby streams for cooking and washing.
  • He still dumps the milk in buckets and carries the buckets to the milk tank.
  • The beans are poured from the buckets into smaller metal bins, and pickers are paid based on the number of bins they fill.
pail, scuttle, can, tin, tub;
ice bucket, wine cooler
1.1The contents of a bucket or the amount it can contain: she emptied a bucket of water over them
More example sentences
  • If they answer ‘incorrectly,’ they get drenched by the bucket of water suspended from a stepladder above them.
  • One shot captures him pouring a bucket of money over his head.
  • Later, the bucket of soothing buttermilk was delivered.
1.2 (buckets) informal Large quantities of liquid, typically rain or tears: I wept buckets
More example sentences
  • I've lost gallons of sweat and buckets of blood all for you.
  • Despite the heavens opening and depositing buckets of rain a few times this weekend, the festival has been hugely successful.
  • 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.
1.3 Basketball informal A basket.
Example sentences
  • Trenton Hassell banked home a trey for the game winning bucket with the score knotted at 100 and just one tick left on the shot clock.
  • Did anybody catch Tim Tom's game clinching bucket against the Sixers in over-time?
  • Even worse, firing off a jump shot is no guarantee of making a bucket, even if you're not covered.
1.4A compartment on the outer edge of a waterwheel.
Example sentences
  • Too much water will make the buckets unstable and they may tip over.
  • 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.
  • 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.
1.5The scoop of a dredger or grain elevator.
Example sentences
  • 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.
  • 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.
1.6A scoop attached to the front of a loader, digger, or tractor.
Example sentences
  • This company also makes use of quick couplers on its loaders, so the bucket can quickly be attached or removed from the loader.
  • His arm was crushed by a large bucket on a digger.
  • 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.
2 Computing A unit of data that can be transferred from secondary storage in a single operation.
Example sentences
  • These caches can be thought of as simple hardware hash tables with fixed size buckets and no chaining, as shown in Figure 1.
  • 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.

verb (buckets, bucketed, bucketing)

[no object]
1 (it buckets, it is bucketing, etc.) informal Rain heavily: it was still bucketing down
More example sentences
  • Unfortunately we had reckoned without the Texas weather, which decided to bucket down with rain all morning.
  • 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.
2 [with adverbial of direction] (Of a vehicle) move quickly and jerkily: the car came bucketing out of a side road
More example sentences
  • The Cuban driver swung out of town, and the bus bucketed along the narrow muddy road.
  • 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.



a drop in the bucket

see drop.

kick the bucket

see kick1.



Pronunciation: /ˈbəkətˌfo͝ol/
noun (plural bucketfuls)
Example sentences
  • It teeters on the cusp of the Mediterranean, offering endless vistas of blue-green sea, bucketfuls of fresh air, and crumbling, salty buildings of the old town that still manage to retain their elegance.
  • They are also rich in cockles and for generations local people have gathered small bucketfuls of the shellfish to eat.
  • Everybody knows they are there and I went down with a small net the other day and came back with three bucketfuls.


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

Words that rhyme with bucket

Nantucket, tucket

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: buck·et

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.