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Tea kettle
 Kettle on Wikipedia



From Middle English ketel, also chetel, from Old Norse ketill and Old English cytel, cetel, citel (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 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 (kettle), Gothic 𐌺𐌰𐍄𐌹𐌻𐍃 (katils, kettle). Compare also Russian котёл (kotjól, boiler, cauldron).[1]



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. (UK) A vessel for boiling water for tea; a teakettle.
    Stick the kettle on and we'll have a nice cup of tea.
  4. (geology) A kettle hole, sometimes any pothole.
  5. (ornithology) A collective term for a group of raptors riding a thermal, especially when migrating.
    • 2006, Keith L. Bildstein, Migrating Raptors of the World: Their Ecology & Conservation - Page 76:
      The term kettle refers to a group of raptors wheeling or circling in a thermal.
    • 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.

Usage notes[edit]

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

Derived terms[edit]


See also[edit]


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

  1. (UK, of the police) To contain demonstrators in a confined area.


  1. ^ Oxford English Dictionary 2ed. "kettle"