HashMap has a number of "buckets" which it uses to store key-value pairs in. Each bucket has a unique number - that's what identifies the bucket. When you put a key-value pair into the map, the hashmap will look at the hash code of the key, and store the pair in the bucket of which the identifier is the hash code of the key. For example: The hash code of the key is 235 -> the pair is stored in bucket number 235. (Note that one bucket can store more then one key-value pair).