Definition of keelhaul in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkiːlhɔːl/


[with object]
1 historical Punish (someone) by dragging them through the water under the keel of a ship, either across the width or from bow to stern: if I catch any more on board I’ll keelhaul them
More example sentences
  • Then, his blue eyes narrowed a bit, ‘And if I hear any rumors to the contrary, I'll keelhaul you and anyone else that has any part of it!!’
  • He might surface, gasp for air and taunting by his pirate comrades and then be keelhauled back underwater.
  • Flogging, branding, keelhauling, locking sailors in chains, walking the plank, and hanging were used in this era.
1.1 humorous Punish or reprimand severely: anyone who laid a finger on her would be keelhauled
More example sentences
  • Coleridge's text may have been keelhauled, but the show still charts a course through it.
  • Writers who send in poor photographs are keelhauled.
  • Just remember that if your only fund is an index fund, a bear market will keelhaul your savings.


Mid 17th century: from Dutch kielhalen.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: keel|haul

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