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ket·​tle ˈke-tᵊl How to pronounce kettle (audio)
plural kettles
: a metallic vessel usually used for boiling liquids
especially : teakettle
: a steep-sided hollow without surface drainage especially in a deposit of glacial drift
: a usually large group of raptors (such as hawks or vultures) circling high in the sky on an updraft of warm air
… more than 500 birds have been seen riding the same spiraling thermal air current, or "kettle," as they are known to hawk-watchers. Rick Steelhammer


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kettled; kettling ˈket-liŋ How to pronounce kettle (audio)
; kettles

transitive verb

: to corral or contain (people) in large numbers by surrounding and forcing into an enclosed area
Police officers stood in a line in front of them but protesters seemed to think they'd be allowed through. They were not. Instead, they were kettled with orange nets, and arrested. Jen Doll
kettling noun
In London, over 30 students were arrested as part of an occupation at Senate House, which included police brutality and kettling. Lucy Uprichard

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web
That's why the Cosori Glass Electric Kettle is our favorite electric kettle for most people. Haley Sprankle Gear Team, WIRED, 12 Oct. 2022 In a real fairy tale, her tea kettle would turn into a carriage and those dogs would become plumed white horses. Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, 12 July 2022 The popcorn is available in other flavor varieties including parmesan and rosemary, butter and sea salt and Vermont maple kettle corn. Amy Fischer M.s., R.d., Good Housekeeping, 31 Oct. 2022 In the past three years, the company has upcycled more than 10 million pounds of potatoes into kettle chips. Ann Trieger Kurland,, 6 Sep. 2022 Red Robin locations will be offering bottomless steak fries, sweet potato fries, garlic fries, kettle chips, broccoli, or side salads with any burger or entree order. Navya Gupta, Detroit Free Press, 13 July 2022 Menu includes sandwiches and burgers with kettle chips, soup, salad, stir fry, tacos, chicken tenders, fish, hot brown and more. Gege Reed, The Courier-Journal, 31 May 2022 Fish dinners include famous homemade seasoned kettle chips, slaw, roll and butter. Marc Bona, cleveland, 18 Mar. 2022 The most famous is The Bratcho — kettle chips topped with bratwurst and nacho toppings. Georgann Yara, The Arizona Republic, 18 Mar. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'kettle.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History



Middle English ketel, from Old Norse ketill (akin to Old English cietel kettle), both from a prehistoric Germanic word borrowed from Latin catillus, diminutive of catinus bowl

First Known Use


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


2009, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of kettle was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near kettle

Cite this Entry

“Kettle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition



ket·​tle ˈket-ᵊl How to pronounce kettle (audio)
: a pot for boiling liquids
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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