Sunday, 12 May 2013


At my time of life one finds oneself attending far too many funerals. Friends, family and acquaintances of advancing years all too frequently 'shrug off this mortal coil', 'drop off the perch' or in the idiom which I currently feature 'kick the bucket'.

'Kick the bucket' is a very commonly used phrase. The origins as so often are unclear but here are some of those which find greatest favour.

Theory 1 is that it comes from a method of execution such as hanging, while standing on an overturned bucket. When the bucket is kicked away, the victim is hanged.

Theory 2 relates to the alternate definition of a bucket as a beam or yoke that can be used to hang or carry things on.

Theory 3 states that the "bucket" may refer to the beam on which slaughtered pigs are suspended. The animals may struggle on the bucket, hence the expression.

Theory 4 suggests that the origin of the phrase comes from the Catholic custom of holy-water buckets. 

After death, when a body had been laid out, the holy-water bucket was brought from the church and put at the feet of the corpse. 
If the death is anticipated, the bucket is placed in readiness and at the moment of death a person stretches his legs and might kick the bucket placed there.

Anyway I for one will be steering well clear of buckets for a long time yet.

1 comment:

  1. As a child at times was made to sit in the corner on a bucket