- Verb i.
To haul under the keel of a ship, by ropes attached to the yardarms on each side. It was formerly practiced as a punishment in the Dutch and English navies.
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Keel hauling (Dutch kielhalen; "to drag along the keel") is a form of punishment and potential execution once meted out to sailors at sea. The sailor was tied to a line looped beneath the vessel, thrown overboard on one side of the ship, and dragged under the ship's keel, either from one side of the ship to the other, or the length of the ship (from bow to stern). A footnote in one source suggests that it may have evolved from the medieval punishment of ducking. The term still survives today, although usually in the sense of being severely rebuked.