The pot calling the kettle black  

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The phrase "The pot calling the kettle black" is an idiom used to accuse a person of being guilty of the very thing they are pointing out. This may or may not be hypocritical or a contradiction.


Alternative interpretation

As generally understood, the person accusing is understood to share some quality with the target of their accusation. An alternative interpretation, recognised by some, but not all, sources is that the pot is sooty (being placed on a fire), while the kettle is clean and shiny (being placed on coals only), and hence when the pot accuses the kettle of being black, it is the pot’s own sooty reflection that it sees: the pot accuses the kettle of a fault that only the pot has, rather than one that they share. See also projection.

Similar phrases

  • In the Gospel of Matthew 7:3, Jesus is quoted as saying, during the discourse on judgmentalism in the Sermon on the Mount, "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?" Many scholars have interpreted this as a proscription against personal attacks in general, not just particulars.
  • An aphorism sometimes attributed to George Herbert states, "People who live in glass houses should not throw stones"...


"In Lao language, it means: ພາສາລາວມີຄວາມໝາຍວ່າ "ນົກເຄົ້າ ທ້ວງຕາແມ່".

You musta been high."

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The pot calling the kettle black" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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