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[keel-hawl] /ˈkilˌhɔl/
verb (used with object)
Nautical. to haul (an offender) under the bottom of a ship and up on the other side as a punishment.
to rebuke severely.
Also, keelhale
[keel-heyl] /ˈkil heɪl/ (Show IPA)
Also called keeldrag
[keel-drag] /ˈkilˌdræg/ (Show IPA),
[keel-reyk] /ˈkilˌreɪk/ (Show IPA)
Origin of keelhaul
From the Dutch word kielhalen, dating back to 1660-70. See keel1, haul Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for keelhaul
Historical Examples
  • "keelhaul me if I cut adrift at this stage of the game," answered Ferral.

    Motor Matt's Hard Luck Stanley R. Matthews
  • He had sneaked in without Aunt's knowing it, and on reaching home was heard to express a strong desire to 'keelhaul them doctors.'

    The North Pacific Willis Boyd Allen
  • While he was considering the matter, Mr. Lowington went on deck, and investigated the plot to keelhaul the professor.

    Dikes and Ditches Oliver Optic
  • "Yes, you may go; but I'll keelhaul every man who's not off to his work by daylight—recollect that," replied Vanderdecken.

    George Cruikshank's Omnibus George Cruikshank
British Dictionary definitions for keelhaul


verb (transitive)
to drag (a person) by a rope from one side of a vessel to the other through the water under the keel
to rebuke harshly
Word Origin
C17: from Dutch kielhalen; see keel1, haul
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 keelhaul

1660s (the experience itself is described from 1620s), from Dutch kielhalen, literally "to haul under the keel," an old punishment. See keel (n.) + haul (v.). Related: Keelhauled. German kielholen, Danish kjølhale, Swedish kölhala also are from Dutch.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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