8 Wintry Words to Defrost Your Vocabulary


[kuh-reen] /kəˈrin/
verb (used without object)
(of a vehicle) to lean, sway, or tip to one side while in motion:
The car careened around the corner.
(of a ship) to heel over or list.
career (def 7).
South Midland U.S. to lean or bend away from the vertical position:
The barn was careening a little.
verb (used with object), Nautical
to cause (a ship) to lie over on a side, as for repairs or cleaning; heave down.
to clean or repair (a ship lying on its side for the purpose).
to cause (a ship) to heel over or list, as by the force of a beam wind.
a careening.
Nautical. the position of a careened ship.
1585-95 for def 9; < Middle French carine < Latin carīna keel, nutshell; akin to Greek káryon nut
Related forms
careener, noun
Can be confused
careen, career. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for careened
  • Motorcycles careened through the throng and people snatched up the pieces of paper and read out photocopied visa applications.
  • After a few hundred meters a van careened toward us.
  • Bombs and airplanes broke loose and careened about the deck.
  • One after the other, the locomotives careened off the broken and barricaded rails creating a spectacular scene of destruction.
  • He began lowering the boat and the ship again careened over hitting the little boat.
  • The bus careened from one side of the road to the other.
  • The monoplane suddenly dipped, wavered and careened into a ground loop to the right.
  • Row's vehicle careened across the lanes of traffic and collided into a light pole at the north side of the roadway.
British Dictionary definitions for careened


to sway or cause to sway dangerously over to one side
(transitive) (nautical) to cause (a vessel) to keel over to one side, esp in order to clean or repair its bottom
(intransitive) (nautical) (of a vessel) to keel over to one side
Derived Forms
careenage, noun
careener, noun
Word Origin
C17: from French carène keel, from Italian carena, from Latin carīna keel
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for careened



1590s, "to turn a ship on its side" (with the keel exposed), from French cariner, literally "to expose a ship's keel," from Middle French carene "keel" (16c.), from Italian (Genoese dialect) carena, from Latin carina "keel of a ship," originally "nutshell," possibly from PIE root *kar- "hard" (see hard (adj.)).

Intransitive sense of "to lean, to tilt" is from 1763, specifically of ships; in general use by 1883. In sense "to rush headlong," confused with career (v.) since at least 1923. [To career is to move rapidly; to careen is to lurch from side to side (often while moving rapidly).] Earlier figurative uses of careen were "to be laid up; to rest." Related: Careened; careening.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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