from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A sturdy belaying pin for the heavier cables of a ship.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A strong cleat to which large ropes are belayed.
  • n. A stonemason's hammer.
  • n. A gazelle.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A strong cleat to which large ropes are belayed.
  • n. A stone mason's hammer.
  • n. The gazelle.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. See cavel.
  • n. See cavel.
  • n. A name of Antilope kavella of Pallas, a supposed species of gazel, later identified with the common gazel, A. dorcas.
  • n. Alocalname in Derbyshire, England, for the calcareous gangue of lead ore (galena).


Middle English kevil, from Old French keville, wooden peg, from Latin clāvicula, diminutive of clāvis, key.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
English dialect kevil, cavel, rod, pole, a large hammer, horse's bit; compare Icelandic kefli cylinder, a stick, mangle, and Danish kievle a roller. (Wiktionary)


  • We walked forward into the bows, and clearly made out the shape of a grapnel thick with shells, with its claws upon the bulwark rail of the half-ship alongside, and there was a line stretched between, belayed to what might have been a kevel on a stanchion of the craft we were in.

    The Honour of the Flag

  • Mr. O'Neill, acting master's mate, was very severely injured by a hawser to which the schooner was fastened in tow, slipping on a kevel.

    Reminiscences of Two Years in the United States Navy

  • I crept out of the port into the chains and passed it round the lugger's main-mast, as he told me, handing in the bight to him, which he belayed slack to the main-sheet kevel.

    Poor Jack

  • I crept out of the port into the chains and passed it round the lugger's mainmast, as he told me, handing in the bight to him, which he belayed slack to the mainsheet kevel.

    Poor Jack

  • Gold has never been that high and silver last was at that kevel in 1980 when the Hunt Brothers of Texas tried to corner the market with a 200 million oz stockpile.

    Purchasing - Top Stories


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  • Oh deery me! People
    suppose all manner of things about
    me, as if I were
    common, though
    I'm a calcareous gangue.

    January 6, 2013

  • "The December sleet drenches the tethered nets, then threshes the fettered pegs; hence, the deckmen wedge the kevels, then check the kedges; nevertheless, these vessels teeter."
    Eunoia by Christian Bök (upgraded edition), p 41

    May 21, 2010

  • Ooh! There's an idea!

    February 8, 2008

  • Should you like to add it to•public-list-delightful-ejaculations?•public-list-delightful-ejaculations

    February 7, 2008

  • "Gluppit the prawling strangles" is my new favorite phrase. Followed immediately by "Clap on to the halliard!"

    February 6, 2008

  • "'Boat your oars,' said Jack. 'Clap on to the halliard — no, the halliard. God's death — haul away. Bear a hand, Stephen. Belay. Catch a couple of turns round the kevel — the kevel.'

    "The scow gave a violent lurch. Jack dropped all, scrambled forward, caught two turns round the kevel and slid back to the tiller. The sail filled, he brought the wind a little abaft the beam, and the scow headed out to sea.

    "'You are cursed snappish tonight, Jack,' said Stephen. 'How do you expect me to understand your altumal cant, without pondering on it? I do not expect you to understand medical jargon, without giving you time to consider the etymology, for all love.'

    "'Not to know the odds between a halliard and a sheet, after all these years at sea: it passes human understanding,' said Jack.

    "'You are a reasonably civil, complaisant creature on dry land,' said Stephen, but the moment you are afloat you become pragmatical and absolute, a bashaw — do this, do that, gluppit the prawling strangles, there — no longer a social being at all. It is no doubt the effect of the long-continued habit of command; but it cannot be considered amiable.'

    "Diana said nothing: she had a considerable experience and she knew that if men were to be at all tolerable they must be fed..."
    —Patrick O'Brian, The Fortune of War, p. 272

    February 6, 2008