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 president 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 ?
After George had got it off his slipper, they tried to put it in the kettle.
They carry bundles of old umbrellas, and sometimes a battered kettle or two.
My furniture, part of which I made myself -- and the rest cost me nothing of which I have not rendered an account -- consisted of a bed, a table, a desk, three chairs, a looking-glass three inches in diameter, a pair of tongs and andirons, a kettle, a skillet, and a frying-pan, a dipper, a wash-bowl, two knives and forks, three plates, one cup, one spoon, a jug for oil, a jug for molasses, and a japanned lamp.
The matron looked, from the little kettle, to the beadle, who was moving towards the door; and as the beadle coughed, preparatory to bidding her good-night, bashfully inquired whether--whether he wouldn't take a cup of tea?
Most of the soil had been washed away or buried in drift after the removal of the trees; only where the streamlet ran down from the kettle a thick bed of moss and some ferns and little creeping bushes were still green among the sand.
The next night there was not only wood and fire, but a piece of meat in the kettle, nearly ready for eating.
The vases fell off the mantelpiece, the canisters fell off the shelf; the kettle fell off the hob.
The outfit of a trapper is generally a rifle, a pound of powder, and four pounds of lead, with a bullet mould, seven traps, an axe, a hatchet, a knife and awl, a camp kettle, two blankets, and, where supplies are plenty, seven pounds of flour.
Kettle and the children are, I suppose, at the seaside?
The farmer bids men bring more hives To house the profit that arrives; Prepares on pan, and key and kettle, Sweet music that shall make 'em settle; But when to crown the work he goes, Gods
So Lina said, no, she would never repeat it to anyone, and then the cook said: 'Early tomorrow morning, when the forester is out hunting, I will heat the water, and when it is boiling in the kettle, I will throw in Fundevogel, and will boil him in it.
I am glad that she has gone," he said to himself, "she has a decidedly middle-class mind"; and he sank a little deeper still into the mud, and began to think about the loneliness of genius, when suddenly two little boys in white smocks came running down the bank, with a kettle and some faggots.
Seal remembered her duties with regard to the kettle and the gas-fire.
The Wizard carried out a big kettle and set it swinging on a crossbar before the tent.
The boy didn't like this speech, for it sounded like a threat; but he happened to remember he had nuts in his pocket, so he cracked some of those and ate them while the woman rose, shook the crumbs from her apron, and hung above the fire a small black kettle.