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This week's theme
Words with nautical origins.

This week's words
mainstay
figurehead
steerage
limpet
keelhaul

Keelhauling: a woodcut print
keelhauling
(Image source: Bournville Village Trust)

Next week's theme
Words from geology and geography
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

keelhaul

PRONUNCIATION:
(KEEL-hawl)

MEANING:
verb tr.: 1. To haul under the keel of a ship. 2. To rebuke sharply.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Dutch kielhalen, from kiel (keel) + halen (to haul). In the olden times this form of punishment was inflicted in the Dutch and British navies. The punished sailor was tied to a rope looped under the ship and thrown in the water. Then he was dragged along the bottom of the ship to the other side. The result was either severe injuries from brushing against the barnacles on the ship's bottom or death from drowning. Thankfully, in modern times keelhauling is performed only metaphorically.

USAGE:
"A determined farmer named Taggart is out to keelhaul the varmint that carried off his youngest son."
Gene Seymour; Unnecessary Sequel Creeps in Once Again; Los Angeles Times; Aug 29, 2003.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
There are two things to aim at in life; first to get what you want, and after that to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieve the second. -Logan Pearsall Smith, essayist (1865-1946)

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