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90s Slang You Should Know


[ket-l] /ˈkɛt l/
a metal container in which to boil liquids, cook foods, etc.; pot.
Geology. kettle hole.
Origin of kettle
before 900; Middle English ketel < Old Norse ketillLatin catillus, diminutive of catīnus pot; replacing Old English cetel, cietelLatin as above; compare German Kessel Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for kettle
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Agnes was bending with red eyes over a kettle which was boiling on the fire.

  • She insisted on making tea, and was too quick with the kettle for Edward to help her.

    Deerbrook Harriet Martineau
  • The hot ascending current passes close by the metal sides of the kettle; while the cold descending current passes down the centre.

  • This is distilled water, and is purer than that in the kettle.

    Diggers in the Earth Eva March Tappan
  • In the winter Snow-white lighted the fire, and put the kettle on, after scouring it, so that it resembled gold in brightness.

    Golden Grain Various
  • That remarkable change of attitude of his now included the kettle.

    The Rich Little Poor Boy Eleanor Gates
  • And as Dick gracefully reminds me, the pot can't call the kettle black.

    Set in Silver Charles Norris Williamson and Alice Muriel Williamson
British Dictionary definitions for kettle


a metal or plastic container with a handle and spout for boiling water
any of various metal containers for heating liquids, cooking fish, etc
a large metal vessel designed to withstand high temperatures, used in various industrial processes such as refining and brewing
(Brit, informal) an enclosed space formed by a police cordon in order to contain people involved in a public demonstration
short for kettle hole
(transitive) (Brit, informal) (of a police force) to contain (people involved in a public demonstration) in an enclosed space
Word Origin
C13: from Old Norse ketill; related to Old English cietel kettle, Old High German kezzil; all ultimately from Latin catillus a little pot, from catīnus pot
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for kettle

Old English cetil (Mercian), from Latin catillus "deep pan or dish for cooking," diminutive of catinus "bowl, dish, pot." A general Germanic borrowing (cf. Old Saxon ketel, Old Frisian zetel, Middle Dutch ketel, Old High German kezzil, German Kessel). Spelling with a -k- (c.1300) probably is from influence of Old Norse cognate ketill. The smaller sense of "tea-kettle" is attested by 1769.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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kettle in Science
A steep, bowl-shaped hollow in ground once covered by a glacier. Kettles are believed to form when a block of ice left by a glacier becomes covered by sediments and later melts, leaving a hollow. They are usually tens of meters deep and up to tens of kilometers in diameter and often contain surface water.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Idioms and Phrases with kettle


In addition to the idiom beginning with kettle also see: pot calling the kettle black
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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