My bucket list Nicolas

The expression, “Bucket list” comes from kick the bucket (to die) + list, hence a “list of things to do before you die”.

The term was coined by American and British screenwriter Justin Zackham in his screenplay for the 2007 film The Bucket List. 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 of the expression “Bucket List”.

Sometimes a new calendar year serves as the ultimate reminder that life is never as long as we’d like it to be.

We tend to harbour thoughts of how our lives are lived and carefully consider the things we have yet to do.

For some time after it was first coined, only people who feared their imminent death compiled a bucket list. More recently, since the expression has become more widely used, it just means ‘a list of things that I would like to do someday’. Such a list typically includes:

  • See the Northern/Southern Lights.
  • Visit, The Grand Canyon, The Taj Mahal, The Great Wall of China…
  • Swim with dolphins.

It is quite possible that the expression existed as slang before the film “The Bucket List” screenplay was written.

If it did it can’t have been coined long before 2006 as we were then in the Google era and any use of it online would now be easy to find, and there aren’t any search results that point to unambiguous uses of the expression before that date.

If the origin is 99% established then the meaning must rate as 100%.

The ‘things to do before you kick the bucket’ source for ‘bucket list’ is obviously correct.

There are references to a different meaning of ‘bucket list’ online and in print that pre-date 2006.

These relate to a sorting algorithm called a Bucket Sort.

This is typically implemented on a computer to sort items into alphabetical or numerical order.

The resulting list is called a bucket list – clearly not the ‘bucket list’ that Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson had in mind.

Here are 10,000 ideas for a bucket list, so you will surely find something on here to fire you up!

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