Know how to use "fewer" and "less"? Find out.


[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. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for careening
  • Such pests are putting this variety of banana at risk-with some scientists saying it is careening toward extinction.
  • Wind hurtles across the reservation, careening around houses and over hilltops.
  • He seemed happiest when careening off into a detour.
  • No careening chandeliers, no raving madman scurrying across a false proscenium.
  • One of the chains linking the carts together severed and sent eight of them careening out of control to the bottom of mine.
  • The right wing catches on the tarmac, sending the plane careening down the runway in a ball of flame and twisting wreckage.
  • He slides wide of the hikers only to have his tires lock up in the mud, sending him careening toward a trailside bench.
  • Absent, weak, and stolen credentials are careening out of control.
  • Originally, the mission was supposed to end with the spacecraft careening into the moon when it ran out of fuel.
  • All of us were always afraid when she took a step that she would go careening forward onto the concrete.
British Dictionary definitions for careening


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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for careening



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
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for careen

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for careening

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for careening