Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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KETTLE, n. Also kittle; kyettle (Sh. 1957 New Shetlander No. 45. 8). Sc. forms and usages:

1. A large pot or cooking vessel (Sh. 1953 Manson's Almanac 121, Sh. 1959). Obsol. in Eng.; †specif. in Sh. the cooking pot used on a rowing boat. Edb. 1798  in D. Crawford Poems 47:
I thought I'd rung a better [tune] frae A paritch kettle.
Sc. 1821  Scott Pirate xi.:
Triptolemus . . . threw himself upon the good cheer, like Sancho on the scum of Camacho's kettle.
Slk. 1835  Hogg Tales III. 223:
Plunge him wi' his heels upmost into the hottest kittle o' boiling brimstone thou canst find.
Sh. 1871  R. Cowie Shetland 225:
They frequently carry large open kettles [in sixerns], in which they light peat fires.
Sh. 1931  Shetland Times (14 March) 7:
Sinnie o' Saandvoe . . . burnt hir fit athin' a kettle o' haet krappin'.
Sh. 1956  U. Venables Life in Shet. ix.:
Boiling abun the fire in a muckle three-taed kettle.

Combs.: (1) kettle-bellied, having a large, protuberant belly, pot-bellied (Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.; Cai.7, Wgt. 1959); (2) kettle-brod, a wooden pot-lid (Sh., mn., sn.Sc. 1959); (3) kettle-corner-steen, the first stone laid in building a chimney-head (Ork. 1929 Marw.); (4) kettle-hole, a pot-hole in a bog; (5) kettle-krook, the hook on which the kettle is hung over the fire (Cai. 1959). See Cruik; (6) kettle-pan, a vessel for cooking; ‡(7) kettle-pot, a pot without feet or legs (Mry., Kcd. 1959); (8) kettle sorra, see quot. and Sorra; (9) pottage kettle, a porridge pot (Kcd. 1911). See Pottage. (2) Sh. 11931  Manson's Almanac 189:
We span da kettle brod an' da laek o' dat.
(4) Mry. 1959  Bulletin (14 March) 7:
The sedgy tussocks at the kettle holes.
(5) Cai. 1724  Old-Lore Misc. II. ii. 114:
[She] ties the end of the thread to the kettle-krook, takes hold of the kettle-krook with her own hand and crosses the fire three or four times.
(6) Edb. 1791  J. Learmont Poems 198:
Or whare the steghin' gluttons nauseous dwell, An' mak their wames the kettle-pans o' h—ll.
(8) Abd. 1956  :
Kettle sorra is skirlie. Melt fat in a pan and fry onions (sliced), stir in oatmeal, keeping lid off pan.

2. Fig. A contemptuous name for a church bell. Per. 1883  R. Cleland Inchbracken 96:
Every little gathering of impudent seceder bodies is to hang up its kettle and deave the whole parish, whenever it wishes to say its prayers.

3. Specif.: a river-side picnic, esp. on the banks of the Tweed, the special feature of which was salmon caught and boiled on the spot (Lth., Bwk. 1959). Freq. in phrs. a kettle of fish, — of salmon. Now adopted fig. in Eng. Bwk. 1756  G. Ridpath Diary (S.H.S.) 88:
They had been at a kettle of salmon at Seyth's.
Bwk. 1772  Weekly Mag. (3 Sept.) 306:
Ise tak ye up Tweed's bonnie side Before ye settle, And shew you there the fisher's pride, A Sa'mon-kettle.
Sc. 1824  Scott St Ronan's W. xii.:
The whole company go to the water-side to-day to eat a kettle of fish.
Bwk. 1896  Bwk. Jnl. (2 July) 8:
A Tweedside kettle is after the fashion of an up-river picnic, but it has its own peculiar characteristics.

4. A cylindrical or barrel-shaped vessel of wood or iron, used to raise and lower materials and men during the sinking of a pit (Sc. 1886 J. Barrowman Sc. Mining Terms 40; Edb.6 1944). Comb. pit kettle, id. Lnk. 1864  St Andrews Gazette (6 Aug.):
By means of a pit kettle a descent was made into the pit.
Sc. 1894  Labour Commission Gl.:
Kettle, a Scotch mining term for the basket or kibble which takes the place of a cage in shafts not provided with “guides” . . . It is like a half-barrel attached to a winding-rope.

5. The game of hop-scotch (Inv. 1959). Also in dim. forms kettlie (Rs. a.1910; Inv. c.1930) and kittlety, the name of the fourth square in the game. Ags. c.1850  A. Reid Regality of Kirriemuir (1909) 400:
The pavement or ground was marked off so: . . . the divisions being termed “Firsty, secondy, thirdy; kittlety, dum scum; Palaly, A' the Warld.”

[O.Sc. kettil(l), a boiling-pot, 15th c., a Tweedside picnic, 1670.]

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"Kettle n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 10 Dec 2018 <>



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