definitions
  • synonyms

keel

1
[ keel ]
/ kil /
|
SEE MORE SYNONYMS FOR keel ON THESAURUS.COM

noun

verb (used with or without object)

to turn or upset so as to bring the wrong side or part uppermost.

Verb Phrases

keel over,
  1. to capsize or overturn.
  2. to fall as in a faint: Several cadets keeled over from the heat during the parade.

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RELATED WORDS

constantly, steadily, uniformly, smoothly, regularly, straight, fluently, levelly, placidly, tranquilly

Nearby words

kedron, kedushah, keef, keegan, keek, keel, keel arch, keel bone, keel over, keel vessel, keelage

Idioms

    on an even keel, in a state of balance; steady; steadily: The affairs of state are seldom on an even keel for long.

Origin of keel

1
1325–75; 1895–1900 for def 8; Middle English kele < Old Norse kjǫlr; cognate with Old English cēol keel, ship; see keel2
Related formskeeled, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for on an even keel (1 of 5)

keel

1
/ (kiːl) /

noun

one of the main longitudinal structural members of a vessel to which the frames are fastened and that may extend into the water to provide lateral stability
on an even keel well-balanced; steady
any structure corresponding to or resembling the keel of a ship, such as the central member along the bottom of an aircraft fuselage
biology a ridgelike part; carina
a poetic word for ship

verb

to capsize
See also keel over
Derived Formskeel-less, adjective

Word Origin for keel

C14: from Old Norse kjölr; related to Middle Dutch kiel, keel ²

British Dictionary definitions for on an even keel (2 of 5)

keel

2
/ (kiːl) /

noun Eastern British dialect

a flat-bottomed vessel, esp one used for carrying coal
a measure of coal equal to about 21 tons

Word Origin for keel

C14 kele, from Middle Dutch kiel; compare Old English cēol ship

British Dictionary definitions for on an even keel (3 of 5)

keel

3
/ (kiːl) /

noun

red ochre stain used for marking sheep, timber, etc

verb (tr)

to mark with this stain

Word Origin for keel

Old English cēlan, from cōl cool

British Dictionary definitions for on an even keel (4 of 5)

keel

4
/ (kiːl) /

verb

an archaic word for cool

Word Origin for keel

C15: probably from Scottish Gaelic cīl

British Dictionary definitions for on an even keel (5 of 5)

keel

5
/ (kiːl) /

noun

a fatal disease of young ducks, characterized by intestinal bleeding caused by Salmonella bacteria

Word Origin for keel

C19: from keel 1; see keel over
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

Idioms and Phrases with on an even keel (1 of 2)

on an even keel


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.

Idioms and Phrases with on an even keel (2 of 2)

keel


In addition to the idiom beginning with keel

  • keel over

also see:

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