a. A cylindrical vessel used for holding or carrying liquids or solids; a pail.
b. The amount that a bucket can hold: One bucket of paint will be enough for the ceiling.
2. A unit of dry measure in the US Customary System equal to 2 pecks (17.6 liters).
3. A receptacle on various machines, such as the scoop of a power shovel or the compartments on a water wheel, used to gather and convey material.
4. Basketball A basket.
v. buck·et·ed, buck·et·ing, buck·ets
1. To hold, carry, or put in a bucket: bucket up water from a well.
2. To ride (a horse) long and hard.
1. To move or proceed rapidly and jerkily: bucketing over the unpaved lane.
2. To make haste; hustle.
a drop in the bucket
An insufficient or inconsequential amount in comparison with what is required.
[Middle English, from Anglo-Norman buket, from Frankish *būk, belly, hollow thing, from Proto-Germanic *būkaz (also the source of German Bauch, belly), perhaps ultimately of imitative origin (suggesting the notion of inflation or distension).]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.