a list of the things you want to do before you reach a certain age, or before you die
Origin and usage
The term bucket list is a relatively new one, popularized by a movie of the same name starring American actors Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman released in the early 21st century. Bucket list comes from the phrase ‘to kick the bucket’ which is a figure of speech meaning ‘to die’.
The phrase bucket list is used to describe things a person wants to do or accomplish before they die. Sometimes, items on a bucket list can be rather ordinary, like travelling to an exotic destination or witnessing a major sporting event; sometimes, bucket list items are a bit more ambitious, like learning to pilot a jet or climbing Mount Everest.
People often create a bucket list as they near retirement age, striving to make time to do some of the things they may have put off in their younger years due to work or family commitments. While it’s become common practice for pensioners to pursue their bucket list dreams, a growing number of them are ending up in hospital with serious injuries brought on by these activities.
Several recent campaigns in the UK and elsewhere have targeted baby boomers who take up risky activities like motorbiking as a way to recapture their youth. These schemes are designed to remind people of the increased chance of serious injury that can occur in pursuit of checking off an item from your bucket list.
“The trend of older people getting injured from physical challenges or over-reaching themselves around the home has been termed the bucket list problem by charities, said Ms. Siganporia, of solicitors Bolt Burdon Kemp, who is a trustee with the Spinal Injuries Association.”
Daily Express. 24 December 2017: ‘Bucket list warning: Baby boomers suffering serious injuries chasing dreams.’
View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.