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Derived from kick the bucket (to die) + list; hence “list of things to do before you die”. Coined by 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]


bucket list (plural bucket lists)

  1. (idiomatic) A list of things to accomplish before one's death. [Circa 2007]
    • 2010, Annalisa Daughety, Love Is Grand, unnumbered page,
      “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.”
    • 2010, Russell Andresen, Are You Kosher?: Memoirs of a Jewish Vampire[2], page 159:
      That is something that I definitely want on my bucket list.
    • 2011, Erieka, Sandy Rodgers, Erieka's Magical Realism, page 20,
      I am also fulfilling my bucket list, which is the list of things that people desire to accomplish before they transition.
  2. Used other than as an idiom: see bucket,‎ list.
    As it processes elements on a bucket list, a processor sets their node flags to 1.



  1. ^ "[1]", Wall Street Journal
  2. ^ bucket list”, Word Spy