Sunday, March 3Not Your Ordinary English-Tagalog Dictionary

What is Water Bucket in Tagalog? Origin, Evolution from Clay to Plastic

The water bucket in Tagalog is called “timba” or “balde,” a container commonly found in bathrooms of Filipino homes, along with the “tabo.” The terms “bucket” and “pail” are often used interchangeably but are not exactly the same. A bucket usually has an open top, while a pail has a lid or top and is mostly used as a shipping container. 

Water bucket in Tagalog
Water buckets in the Philippines

The term “bucket” first appeared in the 13th century, and is considered as a medieval invention. It was mostly derived from the Old English word, “buc,” which means “pitcher” or “vessel.” At that time, buckets were usually made of animal organs, while water buckets were made of clay. Clay jars or buckets were heavy and cannot be carried by a single person.

During the Colonial America era (early 17th century), leather buckets, which were made from animal hides, became common. They were mostly used in fighting fire and had personal marks for easy retrieval after the fire. As a measure, wooden buckets made of oak or fir wood were invented. They are durable and lightweight but very difficult to make.

When the industrial revolution began, manufacturing processes got better and metal buckets were made. They became common and eventually replaced the wooden ones because of their advantages. Metal buckets were cheaper, more durable, and easier to clean. They were made from different metals like brass, copper, and iron. 

The plastic buckets were invented in the mid 1900s, and were cheaper than metal or wooden ones, and easier to clean, too. They are made from a type of plastic called high-density polyethylene or HDPE, which is safe and can be recycled. Then, in 1967, the first plastic pails were sold in the US, and the cover followed in 1971.

In the Philippines, the bucket and pail are considered the same. However, most Filipinos use the term “pail” as any water container with a handle, whether it has a cover or not. On the other hand, they refer to a “bucket” as a small pail just like the ice bucket. Meanwhile, the “timba” mostly refers to plastic pails while the “balde” is the metal cans.

Use timba in a sentence.


Pagkatapos mong maligo, siguruduhin mong puno ang timba ng tubig bago ka lumabas ng banyo. 


After you take a bath, make sure the pail is full of water before you leave the bathroom.

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