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The idiom or something like it is attested in writing as early as 1620 The pot calls the pan burnt-arse (1639). I am from the US and I learned the expression from my mother at the age of 8--10 therebouts.


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WiseGeek, the source of Benyamin Hamidekhoo's answer, rightly notes that both the pot and the kettle "turn black with use." That is, they start out a silvery or grayish or coppery color and gradually turn black through exposure to the heat and smoke of the fires or heating elements that they are set above. However, I disagree with WiseGeek's contention that ...



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