bucket list

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From kick the bucket (to die) + list, hence a “list of things to do before you die”. The term was coined by American and British screenwriter Justin Zackham in his screenplay for the 2007 film The Bucket List.[1] Zackham had created his own list called “Justin’s List of Things to Do Before I Kick the Bucket” which he then shortened to “Justin’s Bucket List”. The first item on his list was to have a screenplay produced at a major Hollywood studio. After a time, it occurred to him that the notion of a “bucket list” could itself be fodder for a film, so he wrote a screenplay about two dying men racing to complete their own bucket lists with the time they had left. Articles about the movie are the earliest known uses.[2]


  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: buck‧et list


bucket list (plural bucket lists)

  1. (idiomatic) A list of things to accomplish before one's death. [c. 2007.]
    • 2009 August 10, Robert Deeter, Bullseye: Journal of a Black Hawk Pilot, Bloomington, Ind.: AuthorHouse, →ISBN, page 102:
      I'm a helicopter pilot, not a writer. Still, it's been a dream of mine to someday write a book. It's ranked near the top on my list of things I want to do someday, my "bucket list," if you will.
    • 2010, Annalisa Daughety, Love is Grand, Uhrichsville, Oh.: Barbour Pub., →ISBN:
      "They told me hiking down into the canyon was on their bucket list." / She nodded. "I hear that all the time. People all over the world have the Grand Canyon on their bucket list." / Jake frowned. "I don't have a bucket list."
    • 2014, Lara Krupika, “How to Use this Book”, in Bucket List Living for Moms: Becoming a More Adventurous Parent, Naperville, Ill.: Wordcrafter Communications, →ISBN:
      The beauty of bucket lists is that just as they represent us and our dreams, like us they also grow and change. You will be surprised once you have begun the bucket list journey at how opportunities spring up around you. New ideas beg to be added to your list. Even the act of completing a bucket list goal can be the source of further exploration.
    Coordinate term: wish list


Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ Ben Zimmer (29 May 2015) , “The Origins of ‘Bucket List’”, in The Wall Street Journal[1], archived from the original on 25 October 2016.
  2. ^ Paul McFedries (10 November 2010) , “bucket list”, in Word Spy, Logophilia Limited, retrieved 4 June 2017