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an awkward, difficult, or bad situation; muddle; mess:
He’s managed to get himself into a fine kettle of fish!
a state of affairs; a matter under consideration:
The new proposal is quite a different kettle of fish from the last one.
a situation; state of affairs (often used ironically in the phrase a pretty or fine kettle of fish)
case; matter for consideration: that’s quite a different kettle of fish

Related Terms

fine kettle of fish
Also, a fine or pretty kettle of fish. An unpleasant or messy predicament, as in They haven’t spoken in years, and they’re assigned to adjoining seats—that’s a fine kettle of fish. This term alludes to the Scottish riverside picnic called kettle of fish, where freshly caught salmon were boiled and eaten out of hand. [ Early 1700s ]
a different or another kettle of fish. A very different matter or issue, not necessarily a bad one. For example, They’re paying for the meal? That’s a different kettle of fish. [ First half of 1900s ]


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