For example 'Kick the bucket." Is it an idiom or proverb? How can I recognize them?

  • "kick the bucket" is an idiom because idioms are referential phraseological units, unlike proverbs. For example, "kick the bucket" is simply another way of saying "to die."
    – Alex B.
    Jun 14, 2014 at 17:14
  • I don't know why this was closed, it seems valid to me.
    – curiousdannii
    Jun 16, 2014 at 3:39
  • I believe the key difference is that an idiom is a figurative referring expression, but a proverb is a proposition (which expresses a common truth). So idioms usually are not full sentences, but proverbs are.
    – curiousdannii
    Jun 16, 2014 at 3:41
  • 2
    @curiousdannii: I marked it as off-topic because it seems language-specific to me, a kind of question someone learning English would ask. To add to that, it has already been asked and answered here: english.stackexchange.com/questions/43725/…. In general, if you feel that one of the moderators has wrongly put a question on hold, please flag it to be reopened. That way, mods get called for attention.
    – prash
    Jun 17, 2014 at 19:46

1 Answer 1


I think "kick the bucket" is an idiom.

"Idiom"=It is a phrase that the meaning of separate words is different from whole phrase.

"Proverb"=It is a fix sentence.

So the differences between proverbs and idioms are:

1."Idioms" are phrases/part of a sentence but "proverbs" are full/fixed sentences.

2."Idioms"--> sometimes have variants "Proverbs"-->have no variants

3."Idioms"--> are not intended to have moral lesson "Proverbs"--> have a moral lesson( advice, warn,..)

4."Idioms"--> every type of text "Proverbs"--> literally or sociocultural texts

5."Idioms"--> frequently used "Proverbs"--> are less frequently used

6."Idioms"--> sometimes used literally "Proverbs"-->rarely used literally

7."Idioms"--> figurative extension of the words meanings "Proverbs"--> based on folklore, an event/a famous poet, a legends

  • I don't think your definition of proverb is accurate.
    – curiousdannii
    Jun 16, 2014 at 3:39