pot calling the kettle black

pot calling the kettle black

Meaning

  • criticizing someone for a fault that you have too
  • to pass judgment on someone for a blunder you also have
  • to comment someone for a mistake or weakness while you also own the same
  • it is used to accuse someone of being a hypocrite

Example Sentences

  1. I can’t believe that you are upset because I was late. That is the pot calling the kettle black.
  2. Peter called me a liar! That is the pot calling the kettle black.
  3. “How can you blame me like that? huh! Pot calling the kettle black.”
  4. All politicians blame each other and tell themselves good, it’s like pot calling the kettle black.
  5. Stop accusing each other – you are both responsible for this accident. Pot calling the kettle black!

Origin

There are two possible meanings for the idiom.

The first dates back to a time where both kettles and pots were made of cast iron. They were placed in the fire to be warmed. Thus, they would both become black with soot. If the pot called the kettle black it would be a trait that they both shared.

Another definition would be that the pot would see its own reflection in the shiny kettle. In this case the kettle would not be covered in soot, but the pot would see its blackness reflected.

The earliest appearance of the idiom is in Thomas Shelton’s 1620 translation of the Spanish novel Don Quixote.

“You are like what is said that the frying-pan said to the kettle, ‘Avant, black-browes.'”

Shakespeare also used a similar phrase in Troilus and Cressida, 1606:

“The raven chides blackness.”

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