kettle of fish

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From kettle, a variant of kiddle, a weir or fence of stakes in a stream used to catch fish.


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kettle of fish (plural kettles of fish)

  1. (idiomatic) An awkward situation.
    Synonyms: can of worms, predicament; see also Thesaurus:difficult situation
    • 2004, Ellen Raskin, The Westing Game, chapter 13:
      "That's a fine kettle of fish," he exclaimed, then turned to his dinner companion. "Fine kettle of fish. I'm so hungry even that sounds good, and from the looks of this menu that's probably what I'll get."
  2. (idiomatic) A situation which is recognized as different from or as an alternative to some other situation, and which is not necessarily unfavorable.
    Synonyms: ball game, horse of a different color
    That is another kettle of fish entirely.