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The meaning and origin of the expression: The pot calling the kettle black

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The pot calling the kettle black

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What's the meaning of the phrase 'The pot calling the kettle black'?

The notion that a criticism that a person makes of another could equally well apply to themself.

What's the origin of the phrase 'The pot calling the kettle black'?

This phrase originates in Cervantes' Don Quixote, or at least in Thomas Shelton's 1620 translation - Cervantes Saavedra's History of Don Quixote:

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

The first person who is recorded as using the phrase in English was William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania, in his Some fruits of solitude, 1693:

"For a Covetous Man to inveigh against Prodigality... is for the Pot to call the Kettle black."

Shakespeare had previously expressed a similar notion in a line in Troilus and Cressida, 1606:

"The raven chides blackness."

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