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on an even keel

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Stable, balanced, as in She had the knack of keeping us on an even keel in any emergency. This term, used figuratively since the mid-1800s, alludes to keeping a vessel's keel in a level position, assuring smooth sailing.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

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