What does the phrase pot, kettle, black mean ?

ive heard it on tv but i dont know what it means

8 Answers

Relevance
  • PMack
    Lv 7
    9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    You misheard it. The phrase is "that's like the pot calling the kettle black". This dates back to the old cast iron cookware days where both the pot and the kettle were black. It's used when someone makes a comment (generally a criticism) to another that also would apply to them, for example if a drunk guy says to his drunk friend "dude, you're hammered" when he himself is also.

    Make sense?

    • Login to reply the answers
  • 4 years ago

    Meaning: Someone who faults another for faults conspicuously his own. Example: You think police should stop all those other terrible drivers? That's like the pot calling the kettle black! Origin: This expression dates back to the 17th Century. In ancient times, pots as well as kettles would likely be blackened over the open cooking fires of the day. Alternative: "The pot calling the kettle black: Said of someone accusing another of faults similar to those committed by the accuser. The allusion is to the old household in which the copper kettle would be kept polished, while the iron pot would remain black. The kettle's bright side would reflect the pot. The pot, seeing its reflection, would thus see black, which would appear to be on the side of the kettle. The pot could then accuse the kettle of a fault it did not have." Source: Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, 1870, revised by Adrian Room (Millennium Edition) Thanks to Jan Heirtzler.

    • Login to reply the answers
  • mark
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    Do you mean "the pot calling the kettle black" ?

    Pots are/were generally cast iron or some metal that gets blackened with usage, and sometimes, especially in poorer households, so is the kettle. So then, both are black, and to employ personification to the pot and kettle, for one to accuse the other of being black points out ignorance of oneself in accusing another (sort of, it takes one to know one).

    But an important further understanding is to recognize that in wealthier, even middle class households, the kettle is typically polished silver, copper, brass and when kept that way, will be highly reflective, like a mirror. So in this case, the pot calling the kettle black is due to the pot seeing its own colors reflected (in their playful relationship upon the proverbial stovetop).

    Both scenarios ought to come to mind as one, all in all, if one chooses to use this allusion---to 'soot' your purposes.

    • Glenn5 years agoReport

      Better concise explanation than Wikipedia and Urban Dictionary! Although, updated for the internet age, it appears it has been shortened by many to pot, kettle, black.

    • Login to reply the answers
  • 9 years ago

    The phrase "The pot calling the kettle black" is an idiom used to accuse a person of being guilty of the very thing they are pointing out. This may or may not be hypocritical or a contradiction.

    • Login to reply the answers
  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • 9 years ago

    It's "if that isn't the pot calling the kettle black?" in old times pots and kettles used on a wood fire were both covered in soot (black) So it's a way to call someone a hypocrite!

    • Login to reply the answers
  • 9 years ago

    It is referring to "Pot calling the kettle black"

    It basically means someone who is worse at something says someone is bad at it.

    For example:

    A murderer telling someone he is cold hearted.

    An obese person calling a chubby person fat.

    A pot calling a kettle black.

    • Login to reply the answers
  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    It's used when one person is accusing someone of something they do themselves.

    So if I said to you, you're a right gossip but was myself a huge gossiper that would be pot, kettle, black.

    • Login to reply the answers
  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    I think you mean "the pot called the kettle black" ... basically it means hypocrisy... somebody reprimanding someone for something they too are guilty of...

    • Login to reply the answers
Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.