[Ads-l] pot and kettle

Barretts Mail mail.barretts at GMAIL.COM
Fri Jun 23 16:26:03 EDT 2017

In “live week 1” of the _The X Factor_ (UK 2012) (http://bit.ly/2szKMHE, about 5:40 in), emcee Dermot O’Leary says to judge Louis Walsh, “pot and kettle with that hair,” meaning that, given Walsh’s hair, Walsh shouldn’t be criticizing contestant Christopher Maloney.

Both Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Pot_and_kettle&redirect=no <https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Pot_and_kettle&redirect=no>) and the online Oxford Dictionaries (https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/us/the_pot_calling_the_kettle_black <https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/us/the_pot_calling_the_kettle_black>) redirect to “the pot calling the kettle black” for the expression “pot and kettle” but neither of them nor Wiktionary provides this abbreviated formulation.

1. The 1820 "The Kettle Abusing the Pot. A Satirical Poem” (http://bit.ly/2szEIi6) by The Black Dwarf provides this expression:

This fam’d Pot and Kettle—long _“a-la-distance”_
Just met, as they parted by _singular chance_.


The _indecent disputes_ ‘twist the Pot and the Kettle. [last lines of the book]

2. 1843: “The Elliston Papers” 
by Charles Robert Elliston, edited by George Raymond
in _Ainsworth’s Magazine_, vol. 4

…it will be but a Pot and Kettle recrimination...

3. 2004 US usage: "Theodore Dreiser: Interviews” (http://bit.ly/2szzFhY)
edited by Frederic E. Rusch, Donald Pizer

“… and while in Dallas further pointed out that perhaps there is a case of pot and kettle near at home

4. 2015: "Global Economic Turmoil and the Public Good”
by Steven Rosefielde, Daniel Quinn Mills

Pot and Kettle
Our position can be attacked move convincingly by arguing that the pot is blacker than the kettle;...

There are numerous pairings of the pot and kettle in Google Books. I didn’t look carefully, but they don’t all seem to be about hypocrisy. 

Benjamin Barrett
Formerly of Seattle, WA

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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