Origionally reffering to the centreline of a hull, in sailboat terminology it reffers to the forward of the two foils. It is responisible for two things. First, as a wing it generates lift to help the boat upwind. Second by making the tip out of lead or attaching a bulb the keel keeps the boat upright by counteracting the force of the wind on the sails.

Keel (kEl), v. t. & i. [AS. cElan to cool, fr. cOl cool. See Cool.]

To cool; to skim or stir. [Obs.]

While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.


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Keel, n.

A brewer's cooling vat; a keelfat.


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Keel, n. [Cf. AS. ceól ship; akin to D. & G. kiel keel, OHG. chiol ship, Icel. kjOll, and perh. to Gr. gay^los a round-built Phœnician merchant vessel, gaylo`s bucket; cf. Skr. gOla ball, round water vessel. But the meaning of the English word seems to come from Icel. kjölr keel, akin to Sw. köl, Dan. kjöl.]

1. (Shipbuilding)

A longitudinal timber, or series of timbers scarfed together, extending from stem to stern along the bottom of a vessel. It is the principal timber of the vessel, and, by means of the ribs attached on each side, supports the vessel's frame. In an iron vessel, a combination of plates supplies the place of the keel of a wooden ship. See Illust. of Keelson.


Fig.: The whole ship.


A barge or lighter, used on the Tyne for carrying coal from Newcastle; also, a barge load of coal, twenty-one tons, four cwt. [Eng.]

4. (Bot.)

The two lowest petals of the corolla of a papilionaceous flower, united and inclosing the stamens and pistil; a carina. See Carina.

5. (Nat. Hist.)

A projecting ridge along the middle of a flat or curved surface.

Bilge keel (Naut.), a keel peculiar to ironclad vessels, extending only a portion of the length of the vessel under the bilges. Ham. Nav. Encyc. --
False keel. See under False. --
Keel boat.
(a) A covered freight boat, with a keel, but no sails, used on Western rivers. [U. S.]

(b) A low, flat-bottomed freight boat. See Keel, n., 3. --
Keel piece, one of the timbers or sections of which a keel is composed. --
On even keel, in a level or horizontal position, so that the draught of water at the stern and the bow is the same. Ham. Nav. Encyc.


© Webster 1913

Keel, v. i. [imp. & p. p. Keeled (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Keeling.]


To traverse with a keel; to navigate.


To turn up the keel; to show the bottom.

To keel over, to upset; to capsize. [Colloq.]


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Keel, n. (Aëronautics)

In a dirigible, a construction similar in form and use to a ship's keel; in an aëroplane, a fin or fixed surface employed to increase stability and to hold the machine to its course.


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