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See also: Kettle


Tea kettle.


  • enPR: kĕt'(ə)l, IPA(key): /ˈkɛ.təl/, [ˈkʰɛtᵊɫ̩]
  • (file)
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈkɛ.təl/, [ˈkʰɛɾɫ̩]
  • (dated, regional US) IPA(key): /ˈkɪtl̩/[1]
  • Rhymes: -ɛtəl

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English ketel, also chetel, from Old Norse ketill and Old English ċietel (kettle, cauldron), both from Proto-Germanic *katilaz (kettle, bucket, vessel), of uncertain origin and formation. Usually regarded as a borrowing of Late Latin catīllus (small bowl), diminutive of Latin catinus (deep bowl, vessel for cooking up or serving food), however, the word may be Germanic confused with the Latin: compare Old High German chezzi (a kettle, dish, bowl), Old English cete (cooking pot), Icelandic kati, ketla (a small boat). Cognate with West Frisian tsjettel (kettle), Dutch ketel (kettle), German Kessel (kettle), Swedish kittel (cauldron), Swedish kittel (kettle), Gothic 𐌺𐌰𐍄𐌹𐌻𐍃 (katils, kettle), Finnish kattila. Compare also Russian котёл (kotjól, boiler, cauldron).[2]


kettle (plural kettles)

  1. A vessel for boiling a liquid or cooking food, usually metal and equipped with a lid.
    To cook pasta, you first need to put the kettle on.
    There's a hot kettle of soup on the stove.
  2. The quantity held by a kettle.
  3. (Britain) A vessel or appliance used to boil water for the preparation of hot beverages and other foodstuffs.
    Synonym: teakettle
    Stick the kettle on and we'll have a nice cup of tea.
  4. (geology) A kettle hole, sometimes any pothole.
  5. (ornithology, collective) A group of raptors riding a thermal, especially when migrating.
    a kettle of hawks
    • 2010, Jean-Luc E. Cartron, Raptors of New Mexico:
      Kettles can consist of thousands of birds migrating together.
  6. (rail transport, slang) A steam locomotive
  7. (music) A kettledrum.
  8. An instance of kettling; a group of protesters or rioters confined in a limited area.
Usage notes[edit]

In most varieties of English outside the United States (UK, Irish, Australian, New Zealand, Canadian), if not specified otherwise, kettle usually refers to a vessel or appliance used to boil water.

Derived terms[edit]


  • Brunei Malay: kitil
  • Hindi: केतली (ketlī)
  • Gujarati: કીટલી (kīṭlī)
  • Irish: citeal
  • Maltese: kitla
  • Zulu: igedlela


kettle (third-person singular simple present kettles, present participle kettling, simple past and past participle kettled)

  1. (Britain, of the police) To contain demonstrators in a confined area.
    • 2009, John O'Connor, G20: The upside of kettling, The Guardian [1]:
      [] to contain demonstrators for hours in a confined spot. This tactic, known as kettling, is seen by some as an attempt to prevent people lawfully demonstrating.
  2. (intransitive) Of a boiler: to make a whistling sound like the boiling of a kettle, indicative of various types of fault.

Further reading[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]


kettle (plural kettles)

  1. Alternative form of kiddle (kind of fishweir)


  1. ^ Hans Kurath and Raven Ioor McDavid (1961). The pronunciation of English in the Atlantic States: based upon the collections of the linguistic atlas of the Eastern United States. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, p. 133.
  2. ^ Oxford English Dictionary 2ed. "kettle"