A different kettle of fish
Lucy Greaney
I'm looking for any info on the origin or meaning of the saying " thats a different kettle of fish"
I find that "kettle of fish" refers either to a mess or simply a matter-at-hand and originates in 1742. The sense of bad situation is often prefixed, in cliché, with "fine..." and "different..." is used for the sense of an issue or topic. The semantic connections would be the part that's interesting and I haven't found much on that. Inuitively, I'd figure that a bouillabaisse is simply used to represent anything amorphous (complicated) and common/vulgar (questionable, composed of perishable materials).
The Morris Dictionary chalks-up "pretty kettle of fish" to a Scottish (near the border) custom of gathering along the banks of rivers at the start of salmon runs and using large, communal boiling pots into which they'd throw their catch and pull-out cooked bits at will, eating with their fingers.
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