kettle


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be a different kettle of fish

To be entirely different in scope or description from someone or something that was just being discussed. Steve: "So you like your first two roommates, but what about your third one?" Joe: "William? Oh, he's a different kettle of fish altogether." I suppose we could start looking at buying a house now that our baby is on the way, but that's an entirely different kettle of fish!
See also: different, fish, kettle, of

be a whole other kettle of fish

To be entirely different in scope or description from someone or something that was just being discussed. Steve: "So you like your first two roommates, but what about your third one?" Joe: "William? Oh, he's a whole other kettle of fish." I suppose we could start looking at buying a house now that our baby is on the way, but that's a whole other kettle of fish!
See also: fish, kettle, of, other, whole

a storm in a teakettle

A disproportionate reaction of anger, concern, or displeasure over some minor or trivial matter. (A less common variant of "a tempest in a teacup/teapot.") If you ask me, these protests are nothing but a storm in a teakettle that's been stoked by a media campaign of misinformation. I really think you're making a storm in a teakettle over this. It's just a tiny scratch on the car!
See also: storm, teakettle

a tempest in a teakettle

A disproportionate reaction of anger, concern, or displeasure over some minor or trivial matter. (A less common variant of "a tempest in a teacup/teapot.") If you ask me, these protests are nothing but a tempest in a teakettle that's been stoked by a media campaign of misinformation. I really think you're making a tempest in a teakettle over this. It's just a tiny scratch on the car!
See also: teakettle, tempest

a watched kettle never boils

If you are waiting for something to happen, obsessively checking it does not make it happen faster. A variation on the more common phrase, "a watched pot never boils." Would you stop refreshing the page? The results will be posted soon enough, and a watched kettle never boils!
See also: boil, kettle, never, watch

fine kettle of fish

A difficult or awkward situation; a mess. Primarily heard in US. Well, that's a fine kettle of fish. I thought I paid the credit card bill, but it turns out that I missed the due date by a week.
See also: fine, fish, kettle, of

pretty kettle of fish

A difficult or awkward situation; a mess. Primarily heard in US. Well, that's a pretty kettle of fish. I thought I paid the credit card bill, but it turns out that I missed the due date by a week.
See also: fish, kettle, of, pretty

be another kettle of fish

To be entirely different in scope or description from someone or something that was just being discussed. A: "So you like your first two roommates, but what about your third one?" B: "William? Oh, he's another kettle of fish altogether." I suppose we should start looking at buying a house now that our baby is on the way, but that's another kettle of fish!
See also: another, fish, kettle, of

the pot calling the kettle black

A situation in which a person accuses someone of or criticizes someone for something that they themselves are guilty of. You're judging me for wearing revealing clothing to a party? That's the pot calling the kettle black, don't you think? The senator accused the newspaper of misrepresenting the facts, which many people have pointed out is the pot calling the kettle black.
See also: black, calling, kettle, pot

fine kettle of fish

Fig. a troublesome situation; a vexing problem. (Usually appears in the expression, This is a fine kettle of fish!) This is a fine kettle of fish. My husband is not here to meet me at the train station, and there's no phone here for me to call him. Alan: Oh, no! I've burned the roast. We don't have anything to serve our guests as a main dish. Jane: But they'll be here any minute! This is a fine kettle of fish.
See also: fine, fish, kettle, of

pot is calling the kettle black

 and that's the pot calling the kettle black
Prov. You should not criticize someone for a fault that you have too. (Not polite to say about the person you are addressing.) Bill told Barbara she was sloppy, but Bill never cleans up after himself, either. That's the pot calling the kettle black. My sister says I dress funny, but if you've seen some of the clothes she wears, you know it's a case of the pot calling the kettle black.
See also: black, calling, kettle, pot

kettle of fish

1. Also, a fine or pretty kettle of fish . An unpleasant or messy predicament, as in They haven't spoken in years, and they're assigned to adjoining seats-that's a fine kettle of fish . This term alludes to the Scottish riverside picnic called kettle of fish, where freshly caught salmon were boiled and eaten out of hand. [Early 1700s]
2. a different or another kettle of fish . A very different matter or issue, not necessarily a bad one. For example, They're paying for the meal? That's a different kettle of fish. [First half of 1900s]
See also: fish, kettle, of

pot calling the kettle black, the

Accusing someone of faults that one has oneself, as in Tom's criticizing Dexter for dubious line calls is a case of the pot calling the kettle black, since Tom's about the worst line judge I've ever seen . This expression dates from the days of open-hearth cooking, which blackens practically all the utensils used. [Early 1600s]
See also: calling, kettle, pot

a different kettle of fish

or

another kettle of fish

BRITISH
COMMON You say that something is a different kettle of fish or another kettle of fish to emphasize that it is completely unlike another thing that you are mentioning. Artistic integrity? Who needs it? Money? Now that's a completely different kettle of fish. Howard was a sweetheart. But Clarisse was another kettle of fish.
See also: different, fish, kettle, of

a pretty kettle of fish

or

a fine kettle of fish

BRITISH, OLD-FASHIONED
If you describe a situation as a pretty kettle of fish or a fine kettle of fish, you mean that it is difficult or unpleasant. Well, this is a pretty kettle of fish, as Queen Mary said. Note: `Kettle' in these expressions may come from `kiddle'. Kiddles were baskets or nets which were laid in streams and rivers to catch fish. Alternatively, `kettle' may refer to a fish kettle, which is a long narrow saucepan that is used for cooking fish.
See also: fish, kettle, of, pretty

the pot calling the kettle black

If you talk about the pot calling the kettle black, you mean that a person who has accused someone of having a fault has the same fault themselves. His accusations must have sounded like the pot calling the kettle black. Note: People often vary this expression. For the government to speak of press lies is a pot and kettle situation. Note: In the past, both pots and kettles were hung over fires, and would be burned black.
See also: black, calling, kettle, pot

a different kettle of fish

a completely different matter or type of person from the one previously mentioned. informal
1993 Empire Meryl is the finest actress of her generation but Arnold is, er, a different kettle of fish.
See also: different, fish, kettle, of

a pretty (or fine) kettle of fish

an awkward state of affairs. informal
In late 18th-century Scotland, a kettle of fish was a large saucepan of fish, typically freshly caught salmon, cooked at Scottish picnics, and the term was also applied to the picnic itself. By the mid 18th century, the novelist Henry Fielding was using the phrase to mean ‘a muddle’.
See also: fish, kettle, of, pretty

the pot calling the kettle black

someone making criticisms about someone else which could equally well apply to themselves.
1998 Times Yet as Guardian insiders point out, the pot can't call the kettle black. She can't cry foul when subjected to fair and standard competition.
See also: black, calling, kettle, pot

a different kettle of ˈfish

(informal) a person or thing that is completely different from somebody/something else previously mentioned: You may be able to read French well, but speaking it fluently is a different kettle of fish entirely.
A kettle in this idiom is a pan in which you can cook a whole fish.
See also: different, fish, kettle, of

the ˌpot calling the kettle ˈblack

(saying, informal) used to say that you should not criticize somebody for a fault that you have yourself: ‘You haven’t done any work all morning.’ ‘Neither have you! Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!’When cooking was done over a fire, the smoke made cooking pots turn black.
See also: black, calling, kettle, pot

pretty kettle of fish

Irritating or embarrassing situation. The Scottish tradition of community fish-boil dinners often degenerated in brawls, to the extent that people began to refer to the events by this sarcastic phrase. Fish-boils may have evaporated, but the expression and the sarcasm haven't.
See also: fish, kettle, of, pretty
References in classic literature ?
Now it was, you observe, that the kettle began to spend the evening.
It's a dark night, sang the kettle, and the rotten leaves are lying by the way; and, above, all is mist and darkness, and, below, all is mire and clay; and there's only one relief in all the sad and murky air; and I don't know that it is one, for it's nothing but a glare; of deep and angry crimson, where the sun and wind together; set a brand upon the clouds for being guilty of such weather; and the widest open country is a long dull streak of black; and there's hoar-frost on the finger-post, and thaw upon the track; and the ice it isn't water, and the water isn't free; and you couldn't say that anything is what it ought to be; but he's coming, coming, coming
The kettle had had the last of its solo performance.
where are your four kettles, and your troughs, and your iron coolers?
Why, there’s judgment in all things,” said Kirby, stirring the liquor in his kettles briskly.
The air of innocence with which Kirby resumed the occupation of stirring the contents of his kettles would have completely deceived the spectators as to his agency in the temporary sufferings of Mr.
but he sat still and shivered and looked anxiously at the kettle.
Again there was a period of silence a silence so long and gloomy that when Mombi finally lifted the kettle from the fire it was close to midnight.
So Uncle Henry lifted the kettle from the fire and poured its contents into a big platter which the Wizard held for him.
A devil, a kettle, a Grip, a Polly, a Protestant, no Popery
When the kettle fell, Tommy Brock, who was still grinning, happened to be uppermost; and he rolled Mr.
Those who now ruled "were angry with the tinker because he strove to mend souls as well as kettles and pans.
Hilbery, drawing inspiration from the portraits on the wall apparently, "consists in missing trains and in finding--" But she pulled herself up and remarked that the kettle must have boiled completely over everything.
To Katharine's agitated mind it appeared that this kettle was an enormous kettle, capable of deluging the house in its incessant showers of steam, the enraged representative of all those household duties which she had neglected.
Our carpenter being prepared to grave the outside of the ship, as well as to pay the seams where he had caulked her to stop the leaks, had got two kettles just let down into the boat, one filled with boiling pitch, and the other with rosin, tallow, and oil, and such stuff as the shipwrights use for that work; and the man that attended the carpenter had a great iron ladle in his hand, with which he supplied the men that were at work with the hot stuff.