There were the following lines in President Obama’s speech delivered in the White House Correspondents’ Dinner held on April 25 at the Washington Hilton Hotel:

“Just this week, Michele Bachmann predicted I would bring about the biblical end of days. Now that’s a legacy. - - I am determined to make the most of every moment I have left. After the midterm elections, my advisors asked me “Mr. President, do you have a bucket list?” And I said, “Well, I have something that rhymes with bucket list.” Take executive action on immigration. Bucket. New climate regulations. Bucket. It’s the right thing to do.”

I heard the word, “bucket” being used in this way for the first time. Does it mean “to keep” something in a priority to do-list, or just "Forget it"?

Is it a common usage of “bucket” as a verb (here in imperative form), or is it usable in this way only in connection with “bucket list”?

  • I'm not sure you can really describe that as a verb usage. I'd say it's more of an exclamation (or "shorthand" for imperative Stick that in your bucket list!). Or just exclaiming Essential! But if people want to extend the usage and make it a "true" verb, I don't see the problem, since English allows virtually any word to be "verbified" (assuming it's understood by the audience/readership). Jun 10, 2015 at 0:23
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    The key piece is this: "I have something that rhymes with bucket list." I will discreetly allow you to imagine what interjection rhymes with "Bucket." Jun 10, 2015 at 0:52

1 Answer 1


The hidden meaning appears more clearly in the audio version.

Bucket list:


informal A number of experiences or achievements that a person hopes to have or accomplish during their lifetime:

making this trip is the first thing on my bucket list

Metaphoric application to things you would like to accomplish before the end of your second term as president:

“Mr. President, do you have a bucket list?”

So what rhymes with bucket list?

F#@k it list!

This is a play on words based on the implication of a vivid imagination:

Take executive action on immigration.
[Rhymes with] Bucket.
New climate regulations.
[Rhymes with] Bucket.

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    So much for the dignity of the office.
    – Ed Miller
    Jun 10, 2015 at 1:24
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    There's no need to dance around it; Obama is saying he has a "Fuck it" list, which means, it's a "I don't give a shit about it anymore" list. But it's a joke. He's the Chief Executive. He tried to do something positive about immigration and climate change, and was opposed in Congress. Now that he's running his term out, he can say, "Fuck it, at least I tried." That's his "fuck it" list. It's a funny, sarcastic comment on the problems he's faced in office. Jun 10, 2015 at 4:06
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    @EdMiller - are you one of these "Thanks, Obama" people? If you want to cite lack of dignity, look at Clinton. Obama is pristine in comparison to some of the people who've sullied the Office. Jun 10, 2015 at 4:09
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    @YoichiOishi I think what Obama was parading, comically, was his recent surge of defiance after the disastrous mid-term election: he had recently given up trying to work through Congress and taken unilateral action, and the effect was as if he had told Congress "You won't cooperate? Fuck it, I'm going ahead and doing it by myself." Jun 10, 2015 at 10:38
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    @YoichiOishi - if you want a clean alternative to "Bucket" that will be understandable, you could replace it with "Trash it"
    – Oldcat
    Jun 10, 2015 at 18:04

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