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


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