Definition of kettle in English:


Pronunciation /ˈkedl/ /ˈkɛdl/

Translate kettle into Spanish


  • 1A container or device in which water is boiled, having a lid, spout, and handle; a teakettle.

    ‘He quickly took the cup and kettle away from me, as if I were a criminal.’
    • ‘I bought a lovely red kettle from a shop which I walked into on a whim.’
    • ‘He glanced in my direction, then back to the new iron kettle, which rattled and hissed.’
    • ‘Ellie enters the room carrying a kettle and a jug containing bottles of milk.’
    • ‘Coal ranges were widely used for cooking and heating the water, and the kettle was kept boiling on the stove ready for the frequent cups of tea.’
    • ‘You can also inhale steam from a kettle or pot of boiling water, taking care not to get so close that you scald yourself.’
    • ‘Imagine you go to your mom's and there is a kettle of water happily boiling on the stove.’
    • ‘He got up and spooned two teaspoons of coffee into a chipped mug, and poured in water from the kettle.’
    • ‘He filled the kettle with water and set it on the stove to boil, opening a pack of instant ramen noodles after he had finished that.’
    • ‘Alaiah started to pace again as she watched the news, filled the bath tub with water, and boiled more water in a kettle for tea.’
    • ‘I put a kettle of water on the stove with the intention of making tea, hoping that it would lighten the situation.’
    • ‘Damry poured some water into a kettle and placed it on the stove.’
    • ‘I apologized, pouring some water into the kettle to boil for tea.’
    • ‘On bath nights (which for me was a Sunday) the baths were taken down and filled with water that had been boiled in the kettle on the gas cooker.’
    1. 1.1A large metal pot for cooking, usually with a handle.
    2. 1.2A bowl- or saucer-shaped container in which operations are carried out on metals or other substances with a low melting point.
  • 2A depression in the ground thought to have been formed by the melting of an ice block trapped in glacial deposits, especially one that is circular and deep.

    ‘our lake is probably a kettle’
    • ‘a kettle pond’
  • 3British A small area in which demonstrators or protesters are confined by police seeking to maintain order during a demonstration.

    ‘activists in the kettle were protesting at being held and resisting arrest’
    • ‘One of the activists inside the kettle said: "I'm here because the public sector is getting cut. The people who are getting hurt are the poorest in the country."’
    • ‘When the police resorted to kettling tactics during last year's student protests, they didn't offer such facilities to those trapped inside the kettle.’
    • ‘The sight from inside the kettle was of a cordon of riot police several deep.’
    • ‘David Lammy, another former minister, challenged her over minors getting caught up in the kettle, and said complaints over the tactic had been passed to the IPCC.’
    • ‘Police were condemned for their treatment of protesters and use of the so-called kettle tactic.’
    • ‘Protesters inside the kettle set fire to a ticket machine in a bus stop, fuelling the fire with placards and newspapers.’
    • ‘She gained notoriety when she joined student protestors in Millbank Tower, the home of CCHQ, and tweeted live from within the kettle.’
    • ‘Judges dismissed their argument that their detention within the kettle in freezing temperatures without food or water for over six hours had breached their human rights.’
    • ‘There were 4,500 people within the kettle.’
    • ‘The former Met assistant commissioner defended police use of the 'kettle' last week.’
    • ‘Some of the protesters were kept inside the kettle for thirteen hours — until 1:00 the next morning.’
    • ‘Other members of the public who had been passing through the area were confined inside a police kettle for five hours or more.’
    • ‘Reporter Michael Howie is among a crowd of thousands of people contained within the police kettle surrounding Fortnum & Mason.’
    • ‘The point of a police kettle is to make you feel small and scared, to strike at the childish part of every person that's frightened of getting in trouble.’
    • ‘Members of the public who are "inadvertently" caught up in police kettles should be allowed to leave, the report said, especially those who are vulnerable or distressed.’
    • ‘While many from Cornwall said they saw little disorder, one Truro student found himself held in a kettle in Trafalgar Square after events were taken over by a "minority".’
    • ‘Officials at the Independent Police Complaints Commission said a woman has claimed she was assaulted while held in a kettle.’
    • ‘The containment officer will be responsible for freeing anyone caught inadvertently in a police kettle.’
    • ‘Black was not a protester but was trapped in a police kettle for around seven hours after trying to walk to a local bookshop.’
    • ‘He said that officers forced demonstrators into such a tight "kettle" on Westminster Bridge that they were in danger of being seriously crushed or pushed into the freezing River Thames.’

transitive verb

[with object]British
  • (of the police) confine (a group of demonstrators or protesters) to a small area, as a method of crowd control during a demonstration.

    ‘the plan was to get as close to the protest as possible without getting kettled’
    • ‘The demonstration was to begin at noon but even before all the protesters had gathered the police suddenly swooped in and kettled them.’
    • ‘I hoped to make it a lot more difficult for the police to kettle children but I am at least pleased that the judges have clarified that the welfare of young people should be made a priority.’
    • ‘Witnesses say a section of the crowd were ushered from Parliament Square on to Westminster Bridge before being kettled for around three hours until they were released.’
    • ‘The troublemakers are being 'kettled' around Nelson's Column by a ring of several hundred officers.’
    • ‘The Met Police apologised through its Twitter feed to those who had been kettled outside the store.’
    • ‘A sound system was established on the traffic island and pumping for all of 30 seconds before the police decided enough was enough and kettled us.’
    • ‘Instead, they kettled the students in one place, which is the policing equivalent of a parent using the naughty step rather than a slap to discipline their children.’
    • ‘These young activists are the same students and school pupils who were kettled in central London on 24 November after demonstrating to protect higher education.’
    • ‘Wary of being kettled, we chose to stay mobile, causing disruption on Oxford St and the surrounding area.’
    • ‘Following demonstrations in which paramilitary police "kettled" thousands, first offenders have received two and a half years in prison for minor offences that would not normally carry a custodial sentence.’
    • ‘A large group of protestors, most of whom acted peacefully during the day, were now being "kettled" around the Bank - trapped in a small space without food, water or toilets until they boil.’
    • ‘Those behind the event had said they wished to draw attention to the "enormous police repression" yesterday which saw thousands of people "kettled" and other peaceful protesters allegedly charged by baton-wielding officers.’
    • ‘Due to a combination of cowardice, claustrophobia and Crohn's disease, I do not react well to being kettled at marches.’
    • ‘The police resorted to "kettling" the breakaway protesters, trapping thousands of people in Piccadilly.’
    • ‘The court's endorsement means kettling is fast becoming common practice at a wide range of protests.’
    • ‘The authorities must also rethink the controversial tactic of "kettling" participants of mass demonstrations, a report by the Home Affairs Committee said.’
    • ‘Police wearing riot gear responded by closing roads and kettling in the protesters outside the mosque, refusing to allow movement between their lines.’
    • ‘Last Tuesday saw yet another twist, as students, anxious to avoid kettling, played a cat-and-mouse game with police all through central London.’
    • ‘Halford said that "kettling" is legally justifiable only when there is no alternative to address actual or imminent violence.’
    • ‘In April 2009, at the London G20 protests, UK police responded to peaceful protestors by "kettling" them, then beating them with fists and batons for "failing to disperse".’


    a different kettle of fish
    • A completely different type of person or thing from the one previously mentioned.

      • ‘the new office is a rather different kettle of fish’
      • ‘We cannot forget what happened 50 years ago, but things are now a different kettle of fish.’
      • ‘I had netting up to stop herons getting in but the otter is a different kettle of fish and has got through the netting.’
      • ‘Going all the way and winning the title is of course a different kettle of fish and a challenge I would suspect that is beyond them for a while yet.’
      • ‘What's increasingly apparent, too, is that Penn the director is a different kettle of fish to Penn the actor.’
      • ‘While Gershwin, Porter and Berlin are as famous as the songs they wrote, Arlen is a different kettle of fish.’
      • ‘This weblog with its proud archives is quite a different kettle of fish and a new experience for me socially.’
      • ‘To have an estate worth a million dollars is nowadays not too difficult to achieve with fixed assets and enough life assurance, but to be a living cash millionaire is a different kettle of fish for most of us.’
      • ‘But in France - the grape's homeland - Pinot Gris is made into a wine that's altogether a different kettle of fish.’
      • ‘A business PC is a different kettle of fish, and many will be surprised to find that a standard 20GB drive is generous enough for the majority of users.’
      • ‘When it comes to larger mills with decent internal sorting capacities, or multi-mill operations, log sorting is a different kettle of fish.’
    a fine kettle of fish
    • An awkward state of affairs.

      • ‘when Carla was back in Rome, she found a fine kettle of fish’


Old English cetel, cietel, of Germanic origin, based on Latin catillus, diminutive of catinus ‘deep container for cooking or serving food’. In Middle English the word's form was influenced by Old Norse ketill.