- May 2016
I recently came to the knowledge of the “modern” version, slightly different, shorter, urban, and not so historical way, the mentioned “Pot, Kettle, Black”, discovered its meaning in the Urban Dictionary site: Urban Dictionary: Pot, Kettle, Black, with the also mentioned meaning “hypocrite”.Pot calling the kettle black - this idiom most likely has previous Spanish origins, but the earliest written record of it in English appears in 1620 in a translation of Don Quixote by Thomas Shelton ("You are like what [it] is said that the frying-pan said to the kettle, 'Avant, black-browes"). Another version of the phrase is included in a collection of proverbs by John Clarke in 1639 ("The pot calls the pan burnt-arse"). A more modern version of the phrase might be "Pot, kettle, black", but that's debatable.
Sometimes cooking vessels are substituted (cauldron, etc), but one must operate under the assumption that all of them are cast iron to retain the original meaning of the phrase - that one is a hypocrite calling the other that which they themselves are (or pots and pans are super racist and they don't own mirrors?).
An alternative interpretation of the phrase appears in St. Nicholas Magazine in 1876, in the form of an anonymously written poem which argues that the kettle is made of metal and is simply reflecting the pot's own image back to it, giving the illusion of sameness.
It seems more likely that the original meaning is closer to the first interpretation of the phrase, because I don't think Don Quixote was cooking in shiny pots and pans (or at least they wouldn't remain that way for long, without an indirect way of heating them - I wonder how those pots feel about that!).
This one reminds me of beauty and the beast, because of all the talking kitchen utensils. These ones seem pretty rude, though.
Are there any more talking inanimate object idioms?
The pot calling the kettle black - Wikipedia
No way I imagined that “Pot, Kettle, Black” could be related in some way with Cervantes’ masterpiece.
By the way, is “Hello cauldron.” an idiom? It seems related (because of the pot?). I know some idioms in English, but since I am not a native English speaker, I confess that I am unaware of this last one and was unaware of the previous until recently. I was told that this is common enough to English native speakers.