This is a perfect example of the frying pan calling the kettle black

I am not making these up.  This one was from a commenter (UltraLiberal) in response to a New York Times Op-ed by Gail Collins entitled “The Luck of the Pontiff”  –  The commenter posted:


“Anti-Catholicism, with over one Billion Catholics in the world,I don’t think.  Catholics have to worry about extinction,This is a perfect example of the frying pan calling the kettle black.”

This is a mash up of “the pot calling the kettle black”  (criticizing someone for a fault that you have) and “from the frying pan into the fire” (going from a bad situation to a worse situation).  This is similar to previous malaphor postings  – “That’s the cat calling the kettle black” and “look who’s calling the kettle black.”  Obviously this proverb seems to be misunderstood, or at least not remembered correctly.  But then again maybe that’s just me calling the kettle black.  Many thanks to Barry Eigen for spotting this one in the New York Times on-line comments.  
Want to hear for yourself? Collins speaks on Thursday, February 17, at 5 p.m. at Ira Allen Chapel, University of Vermont, Burlington. Institutional sexism


4 Comments on “This is a perfect example of the frying pan calling the kettle black”

  1. WayneF says:

    Is it not “the fire calling the kettle black?”
    As in, criticising someone for a fault you’ve played a part in?

    • davemalaphor says:

      I have always heard the expression as “pot calling the kettle black”. If “fire” a British variant?

      • WayneF says:

        Was wondering if you’d actually heard it this way Dave. I heard it long ago, the first time I ever heard the expression used, I think. Pot, kettle… also the ubiquitous version, makes sense and all. Derivation would be nice (likely British, most English-language idioms are).

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