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[kuh-reen] /kəˈrin/
verb (used without object)
(of a vehicle) to lean, sway, or tip to one side while in motion:
The car careened around the corner.
(of a ship) to heel over or list.
career (def 7).
South Midland U.S. to lean or bend away from the vertical position:
The barn was careening a little.
verb (used with object), Nautical.
to cause (a ship) to lie over on a side, as for repairs or cleaning; heave down.
to clean or repair (a ship lying on its side for the purpose).
to cause (a ship) to heel over or list, as by the force of a beam wind.
a careening.
Nautical. the position of a careened ship.
Origin of careen
1585-95 for def 9; < Middle French carine < Latin carīna keel, nutshell; akin to Greek káryon nut
Related forms
careener, noun
Can be confused
careen, career. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for careen
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Of a sudden the wind lulled, and the Circassian righted from her careen.

  • "We must run for shelter there, and careen her," said Levasseur.

    Captain Blood Rafael Sabatini
  • But my ships are foul with the long passage, and are in need of a careen.

    The Lost Continent C. J. Cutcliffe Hyne
  • We will careen the ship for a day or so, so as to let the carpenter and his mates get at the leak.

    Jones of the 64th

    F. S. (Frederick Sadleir) Brereton
  • When we have your report, we can arrange to careen the ship, but not before.

    Roger the Bold F. S. Brereton
  • Afterwards I helped to careen the Ships, to refit them, and to calk them.

  • It can't be more than a week or ten days' job, even if we careen her.

    The Mystery Stewart Edward White and Samuel Hopkins Adams
  • careen the Margarita there and rectify the wrong—which he trusted was not great.

    1492 Mary Johnston
  • The 3d July I hove my ship down on the careen to sheath her.

British Dictionary definitions for careen


to sway or cause to sway dangerously over to one side
(transitive) (nautical) to cause (a vessel) to keel over to one side, esp in order to clean or repair its bottom
(intransitive) (nautical) (of a vessel) to keel over to one side
Derived Forms
careenage, noun
careener, noun
Word Origin
C17: from French carène keel, from Italian carena, from Latin carīna keel
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for careen

1590s, "to turn a ship on its side" (with the keel exposed), from French cariner, literally "to expose a ship's keel," from Middle French carene "keel" (16c.), from Italian (Genoese dialect) carena, from Latin carina "keel of a ship," originally "nutshell," possibly from PIE root *kar- "hard" (see hard (adj.)).

Intransitive sense of "to lean, to tilt" is from 1763, specifically of ships; in general use by 1883. In sense "to rush headlong," confused with career (v.) since at least 1923. [To career is to move rapidly; to careen is to lurch from side to side (often while moving rapidly).] Earlier figurative uses of careen were "to be laid up; to rest." Related: Careened; careening.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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