ket·​tle | \ ˈke-tᵊl How to pronounce kettle (audio) \
plural kettles

Definition of kettle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a metallic vessel usually used for boiling liquids especially : teakettle
b : a steep-sided hollow without surface drainage especially in a deposit of glacial drift
4 : 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


kettled; kettling\ ˈket-​liŋ How to pronounce kettle (audio) , ˈke-​tᵊl-​iŋ \; kettles

Definition of kettle (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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Other Words from kettle


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: Noun Demi rants about them only coming for fame, clout, and followers — which okay, pot meet kettle, but sure. Maureen Lee Lenker,, 15 Sep. 2021 Spatulas, tongs, a can opener, titanium cutlery, a water kettle, and more are all part of the package. Sebastian Blanco, Car and Driver, 3 July 2021 Those three days at Disch-Falk Field — packed to the brim, a kettle of explosive energy — featured the Longhorns at their peak. Nick Moyle, San Antonio Express-News, 11 June 2021 Vendors will sell Czech foods like sweet and savory kolaches and the beer bread sandwich with sausage and sauerkraut, plus fair favorites like corn dogs and kettle corn. Audrey Eads, Dallas News, 2 Sep. 2021 So the coffee kettle is fired up for a few cups of stimulation. Ed Silverman, STAT, 1 Sep. 2021 What to order: Their crunchy/sweet kettle corn is the best in town. San Diego Union-Tribune, 5 Aug. 2021 In 20-quart or larger kettle, bring 8 quarts water and ½ cup salt to boiling. Krissa Rossbund, Better Homes & Gardens, 30 July 2021 This 48-acre natural kettle hole pond is surrounded by 1.4 miles of undeveloped shoreline, protected as part of Nickerson State Park., 21 July 2021

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.

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First Known Use of kettle


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


2009, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for kettle


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

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Time Traveler for kettle

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near kettle



kettle base

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Statistics for kettle

Last Updated

18 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Kettle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for kettle



English Language Learners Definition of kettle

: a container used for heating or boiling liquid especially : teakettle


ket·​tle | \ ˈke-tᵊl How to pronounce kettle (audio) \

Kids Definition of kettle

1 : a pot for boiling liquids
2 : teakettle


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