kick the bucket

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search

English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Wikipedia has an article on:
Wikipedia

There are many theories as to where this idiom comes from, but the OED (Oxford English Dictionary) discusses the following:

  • A person standing on a pail or bucket with their head in a slip noose would kick the bucket so as to commit suicide. The OED, however, says this is mainly speculative;
  • The OED describes as more plausible the archaic use of "bucket" as a beam from which a pig is hung by its feet prior to being slaughtered. To kick the bucket, then, originally signified the pig's death throes.

Another explanation is given by a Roman Catholic Bishop, The Right Reverend Abbot Horne, F.S.A. He records on page 6 of his booklet "Relics of Popery" Catholic Truth Society London, 1949, the following:

After death, when a body had been laid out, [] and [] the holy-water bucket was brought from the church and put at the feet of the corpse. When friend came to pray [] they would sprinkle the body with holy water [] it is easy to see how such a saying as "kicking the bucket" came about. Many other explanations of this saying have been given by persons who are unacquainted with Catholic custom

Pronunciation[edit]

Verb[edit]

kick the bucket

  1. (idiomatic, euphemistic, colloquial) To die.
    The old horse finally kicked the bucket.
  2. (idiomatic, colloquial) Of a machine, to break down such that it cannot be repaired.
    I think my sewing machine has kicked the bucket.

Synonyms[edit]

Translations[edit]