bucket list
n. A list of activities and achievements that a person hopes to accomplish in his or her lifetime.

Example Citations:
According to Wayne Hasson, president of Aggressor Fleet, whale watchers can slip into the water there and snorkel with the 10- to 12-foot calves as their mothers watch from 40 feet below. 'The baby will dive down and come back up to the surface,' Mr. Hasson said. 'It's one of those things you have to put on your bucket list.'
—Allison Busacca, "6 Action Adventures in the Caribbean," The New York Times, November 7, 2010

The New York City Marathon's 2010 theme — "I'm in. We're in" — is meant to convey that "everybody can be in," said race director Mary Wittenberg, who is expecting 45,000 runners for Sunday's event...Such inclusion has, for several years, extended to celebrities. Roker, an unlikely long-distance runner, put the marathon on his "bucket list."
—John Jeansonne, "New York Marathon takes the bucket list crowd," The Toronto Star, November 3, 2010

Earliest Citation:
Scripted by Justin Zackham, "The Bucket List" refers to a wish list that two terminally ill men try to fulfill before each kicks the bucket. After they break out of a cancer ward, they head off on a road trip with an itinerary that includes racing cars, eating giant plates of caviar and slinging poker chips in Monte Carlo.
—"'Bucket' Brigade," Daily Variety, June 29, 2006

This phrase comes from the idiom to kick the bucket, meaning "to die," which has been in the language since at least 1785. Here's the earliest citation I could find that doesn't refer to the movie The Bucket List, which popularized this phrase:

Oh yes, my list of things I intend to do before I 'kick the bucket'.
—Kendra Puckett, "The Bucket List," A Thousand Words.., December 28, 2006

However, there's also this:

I extended my trip in Toronto for an extra 3 weeks until August 8th, which has afforded me the opportunity to catch the Dresden Dolls (go me!) and next week The Living End thereby clearing off two upper-level entries in the Must-See-Before-I-Kick-the-Proverbial-Bucket list.
—Fongolia, "Notdeadyet," Fong Songs, July 25, 2006

Related Words: