Open main menu




From on + keel.

Prepositional phraseEdit

on keel

  1. (of a watercraft, etc.) Moving straight ahead without wobbling or tilting.
    • 1971, Seth S. King, “What Has Two Skis, Tank Treads,” The New York Times, 10 January, 1971,[1]
      It does take some experience with balance and acceleration to keep a snowmobile on keel in the deep woods.
    • 1980, “Signalman’s Odyssey: part IV,” INSCOM Journal, Arlington, VA: Army Intelligence and Security Command, June, 1980, p. 10,[2]
      A sudden gust of wind twice caught us unawares, lifted one outrigger balance-pole off the water and nearly had us turned turtle. Immediately, four of us dove along the catwalk, threw our hanging weights onto the poles and, just in time, brought the boat on keel.
    • 1988, Alice Digilio, “Crew making a splash in area high schools,” The Washington Post, 21 April, 1988,[3]
      As the boys went through drills, Sullivan called orders, criticism and encouragement through an electronic megaphone. “Keep your boat on keel. You’re dropping down on port with every catch,” he observed to the varsity eight as it sped upstream rowing at full pressure.
  2. (figuratively) Under control, proceeding or running smoothly.
    • 1979, Bernard Malamud, Dubin’s Lives, Chapter Eight,
      He walked-ran day after day although it was a living bore, the sameness, the ritual. This extraordinary world—is this how life wants me to live it? But he ran to keep himself on keel, to wind himself into work the next morning.
    • 1990, Francis X. Clines, “Evolution in Europe; In Fabled Samarkand, Newborns Fight for Life,” The New York Times, 5 July, 1990,[4]
      [] special teams of medical workers are as much frustrated as dedicated. For they know what should be done for their sick infants, but lack all manner of medical equipment to diagnose, to incubate, to sterilize, to medicate, to nudge small lives back on keel.
    • 2006, George W. Bush, speech given at Kansas State University, quoted in The Washington Post, 23 January, 2006,[5]
      We don’t always agree with China, of course. It’s a complex relationship, but it’s one in which, in my judgment, it’s best to be in a position where we can dialogue and discuss things in order to keep relations on keel and keep peace in that part of the world.