Definition: An area of storage where items with a common property are stored. Typically tree data structures and sort algorithms use many buckets, one for each group of items. Usually buckets are kept on disk.

Generalization (I am a kind of ...)

Aggregate parent (I am a part of or used in ...)
radix sort, bucket sort, elastic-bucket trie, hash heap, extendible hashing.

Note: A bucket is used when a number of items need to be kept together, but the order among them is not important. Conceptually it is a bag (rather than a set).

Author: PEB

Go to the Dictionary of Algorithms and Data Structures home page.

If you have suggestions, corrections, or comments, please get in touch with Paul Black.

Entry modified 8 January 2004.
HTML page formatted Mon Feb 2 13:10:39 2015.

Cite this as:
Paul E. Black, "bucket", in Dictionary of Algorithms and Data Structures [online], Vreda Pieterse and Paul E. Black, eds. 8 January 2004. (accessed TODAY) Available from: