a metal container in which to boil liquids, cook foods, etc.; pot.
Geology, kettle hole.

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. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
kettle (ˈkɛtəl)
1.  a metal or plastic container with a handle and spout for boiling water
2.  any of various metal containers for heating liquids, cooking fish, etc
3.  a large metal vessel designed to withstand high temperatures, used in various industrial processes such as refining and brewing
4.  short for kettle hole
[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 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. cetil (Mercian), from L. catillus "deep pan or dish for cooking," dim. of catinus "bowl, dish, pot." A general Gmc. borrowing (cf. O.S. ketel, O.Fris. zetel, M.Du. ketel, O.H.G. kezzil, Ger. Kessel). Spelling with a -k- (c.1300) probably is from infl. of O.N. cognate ketill. The smaller sense of
"tea-kettle" is 20c. Kettledrum is from 1542.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
kettle   (kět'l)  Pronunciation Key 
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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Bible Dictionary

Kettle definition

a large pot for cooking. The same Hebrew word (dud, "boiling") is rendered also "pot" (Ps. 81:6), "caldron" (2 Chr. 35:13), "basket" (Jer. 24:2). It was used for preparing the peace-offerings (1 Sam. 2:13, 14).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


In addition to the idiom beginning with kettle, also see pot calling the kettle black.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Encyclopedia Britannica


in geology, depression in a glacial outwash drift made by the melting of a detached mass of glacial ice that became wholly or partly buried. The occurrence of these stranded ice masses is thought to be the result of gradual accumulation of outwash atop the irregular glacier terminus. Kettles may range in size from 5 m (15 feet) to 13 km (8 miles) in diameter and up to 45 m in depth. When filled with water they are called kettle lakes. Most kettles are circular in shape because melting blocks of ice tend to become rounded; distorted or branching depressions may result from extremely irregular ice masses

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
The origins of life are an entirely different kettle of fish.
Put into a preserving kettle, and add enough water to nearly cover.
Getting those molecules to stick only to tumour cells, though, is a different
  kettle of fish.
At some point, the entire reactor inside the pressure vessel was above the
  waterline: the kettle had boiled dry.
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