Kick-the-bucket meaning

(idiomatic, euphemistic, colloquial) To die.

The old horse finally kicked the bucket.

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(idiomatic, colloquial) Of a machine, to break down such that it cannot be repaired.

I think my sewing machine has kicked the bucket.

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Origin of kick-the-bucket

  • 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;

    From Wiktionary

  • 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;

    From Wiktionary