English : To Kick The Bucket

What is the origin and meaning of the expression To Kick The Bucket??

The idiom to kick the bucket means to die and it is normally used in very informal contexts. You will never find a newspaper headline screaming Local M.P kicks the bucket. Similarly, it would be unwise to ask someone I understand your father kicked the bucket yesterday. How did it happen? The idiom should not be used with people who have suffered a recent loss in the family.

Here are a few examples.

• Sonata told me that our former Principal kicked the bucket last week.

• Several people in their family kicked the bucket last year.

• They expect him to kick the bucket next week.

People have come up with different theories as to how this expression came into being. One of them is the following. In the old days, when someone wanted to commit suicide or when people wanted to hang someone, they made use of a bucket - an article that was readily available in all houses. What they used to do was to tie a rope to a tree and under the rope they used to place an empty bucket. The bucket was then turned upside down and the man who was to be hanged was made to stand on it. The noose was slipped around the victim's neck and the bucket was then kicked away. Result? A slow and painful death.

COURTESY : The Hindu (The National News-Paper) - India

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