Code Spammer's Paradise

161. The Design of Everyday Sayings

21st November 2008
I really do wonder sometimes where some common sayings came from... I mean really where the heck did a different kettle of fish come from?

- Luke


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By Reeeeeeets at 7:00pm 21st November 2008
That's a reeeeaaaalllly nice kettle moo. But it should be PINK!
By Leo at 9:11pm 21st November 2008
Prior to the eighteenth century, a kettle referred to any pot in which things could be boiled. However, there is also reference to a 'fish kettle', which is a long, oblong caldron designed to boil whole fish (particularly cod and salmon).
By Leo at 9:25pm 21st November 2008
However, the origin of the saying has nothing to do with fish kettles, but actually with the well known nineteenth century doctor Edward Kettlestein. Dr Kettlestein served with the Union army during the American civil war, during which he treated troops with cod-liver oil as a disinfectant. It didn't work very well, and when he started to use a proper disinfectant, the wounded were pleased as it didn't smell as bad, hence a 'different kettle of fish'. More at:
By jarrett at 1:39am 22nd November 2008
i particularly like the way the kettle would POUR ONTO YOUR OWN HAND
ps leo: very interesting. etymology ftw!
By Erica at 8:34pm 21st December 2008
LOL! Im gonna make that teapot! :-)