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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

Examples of kettle in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Success requires pouring the water into the kettle, turning it on, then pouring the hot water into the mug, and placing a tea-bag inside it. IEEE Spectrum, 28 May 2024 Everything in the store — grilling kits, espresso machines, tea kettles, baking sheets, paring knives and much more — is marked down between 20% and 70% off through the end of June. David Hudnall, Kansas City Star, 22 May 2024
Settlement is one of many The settlement comes months after the city agreed to pay several hundred other people $21,500 apiece to settle a class-action lawsuit related to a similar incident involving kettling in the Bronx. USA TODAY, 20 July 2023 During some of the 2020 protest marches, officers deployed a crowd control tactic known as kettling against peaceful protesters, corralling them in tight spaces and attacking them with batons and pepper spray before making mass arrests. Jake Offenhartz, Fortune, 20 July 2023 See all Example Sentences for kettle 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'kettle.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 16 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
ket·​tle ˈket-ᵊl How to pronounce kettle (audio)
: a pot for boiling liquids


2 of 2 verb
: to corral or contain (people) in large numbers by surrounding and forcing into an enclosed area
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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