[ 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.


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Also keel·hale [keel-heyl] /ˈkil heɪl/.
Also called keel·drag [keel-drag] /ˈkilˌdræg/, keel·rake [keel-reyk] /ˈkilˌreɪk/.

Origin of keelhaul

From the Dutch word kielhalen, dating back to 1660–70. See keel1, haul Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for keelhaul

  • "Keelhaul me if I cut adrift at this stage of the game," answered Ferral.

    Motor Matt's Hard Luck|Stanley R. Matthews
  • While he was considering the matter, Mr. Lowington went on deck, and investigated the plot to keelhaul the professor.

    Dikes and Ditches|Oliver Optic
  • 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
  • "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

/ (ˈkiːlˌhɔːl) /

verb (tr)

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 for keelhaul

C17: from Dutch kielhalen; see keel 1, 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