pretty kettle of fish

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

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 ?
Well, this is a pretty kettle of fish," she said wrathfully.
Epanchin are, so there was a pretty kettle of fish.
The discomfort of this event might have led to the phrase pretty kettle of fish, meaning an awkward or uncomfortable scenario.
If you suspect that your family or guests are squeamish about shark, just call it fish stew or, quoting Gilbert and Sullivan, simply a pretty kettle of fish.