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  Dictionary Definition of keel

keel [1]
1. the main longitudinal structural member of a ship's hull, to which the frames are fastened and which lies in the middle of the bottom of the hull and runs along the whole length; the keel may project somewhat from the bottom of the vessel to improve its stability.
2. « fin keel.
3. a ship.
4. a part corresponding to a ship's keel in some other structure, as in an aircraft fuselage.
5. Botany, Zoology a longitudinal ridge, as on a leaf or bone; a carina.
6. the prominent breast-bone of poultry and other birds, and of certain dogs, as the dachshund.
-- verb (t)
7. to upset (a boat) so as to bring the wrong side or part uppermost.
-- phrase
8. keel over, a. (of a boat) to turn or roll on the keel. b. Colloquial to collapse suddenly.
9. on an even keel, in a steady or balanced state or manner.
[ME kele, from Scandinavian; cf. Icel. kj÷lr ]