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Careen

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Careen

Postby Dr. Goodword » Mon Jun 17, 2013 11:50 pm

• careen •


Pronunciation: kê-reenHear it!

Part of Speech: Verb

Meaning: 1. (Transitive) To turn (a ship) over on its side for cleaning and repairing. 2. (Intransitive) To rush headlong, swerving and tilting at high speed; to pitch or tilt to one side.

Notes: Today's Good Word was brought to Jon Freeman's attention listening to Carlotta's song "I'm Still Here" in Stephen Sondheim's Follies. In this song Carlotta croons that "Then you career from career to career". In singing so, Carlotta succumbs to a confusion of the obsolete verb career "to run headlong" with today's word that has plagued speakers of US and UK English for decades. The verb career became obsolete in the late 19th century, but its meaning is so close to that of today's word, it has been a long time dying. Also keep carom "to bounce off" discrete from careen, another potential source of confusion.

In Play: Today careen can mean racing at such a high speed as to barely maintain control of your vehicle: "When Randolph heard that Phil Anders was at Randolph's girlfriend's house, he went careening down the street on his bike like he was on fire." It can also mean to tilt or even pitch over: "Rick O'Shea turned the corner so fast, his car careened and turned over."

Word History: Today's Good Word comes from the Middle French word carene "keel". French inherited this word from Latin karina "keel" which, used as a verb, meant "to keel (a ship)", that is, turn it on its keel. Karina originally meant "nutshell", though, which explains how the same original root (Proto-Indo-European kar-) ended up in English as hard. This sense is not too far removed from that of Greek kratos "strength, power", also from kar-, which we find in such words as democracy "power by the people", and various other '-cracies'. (We hope that today's contributor, Jon Freeman, didn't careen any in getting this Good Word to us.)
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Re: Careen

Postby LukeJavan8 » Tue Jun 18, 2013 12:20 pm

Good word. Good example for me: I careen a lot:
rush into things without thinking, without following
directions.
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Re: Careen

Postby Slava » Tue Jun 18, 2013 12:27 pm

Rick O'Shea turned the corner so fast, his car careened and turned over, slid and caromed off the cars parked along the road. He wasn't seriously injured, but, as it was a company car, it did not prove so beneficial to his career.
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Re: Careen

Postby Philip Hudson » Wed Jun 19, 2013 2:46 am

Thanks for the use of the word caromed. I knew it as a part of the vocabulary of the pool hall but never heard of a car doing it. Bravo!
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Re: Careen

Postby call_copse » Wed Jun 19, 2013 6:27 am

As a sailor I have done plenty of literal careening. We did call it that too.
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Re: Careen

Postby MTC » Wed Jun 19, 2013 12:02 pm

careen
To take a ship into shallower waters or out of the water altogether and remove barnacles and pests such as mollusks, shells and plant growth from the bottom. Often a pirate needs to careen his ship to restore it to proper speed. Careening can be dangerous to pirates as it leaves the ship inoperable while the work is being done.

http://www.pirateglossary.com/

FRAGMENT

Captain Morgan: Damn'd barnacles 'av robbed us of a knot.
Pirate 1: Aye, Cap'n.
Captain Morgan: We'll careen in the Dry Tortugas. Helmsman, make yer course Nor by Nor E.
Helmsman: Aye, Cap'n, "South by South E." (Swinging helm.)
Captain Morgan: "'Nor by Nor E,' I say!"
(Grinding sounds as galley hits reef)
Captain Morgan: Keelhaul him, lads! The barnacles will feast on 'is flesh!"

Makes you glad you were not incarnated as a pirate, doesn't it?
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Re: Careen

Postby LukeJavan8 » Wed Jun 19, 2013 12:45 pm

nor a barnacle!
I love pirates. Thanks.
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Re: Careen

Postby DavidLJ » Wed Jun 19, 2013 5:28 pm

I think you're plain wrong aout "career" being an obsolete 19th century word that has been replaced by "careen" in the meaning of veering from side to side.

The actual fact is that careen means to turn a boat upside-down for cleaning, and career means to veer from side to side, now, just as in the 19th century.

A lot of ignorant people have always confused the two words, and now Dr. Goodword has joined them -- adding insult to injury by attempting to use the authority of his station to call his error an innovation.
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Re: Careen

Postby Slava » Wed Jun 19, 2013 5:58 pm

DavidLJ wrote:I think you're plain wrong aout "career" being an obsolete 19th century word that has been replaced by "careen" in the meaning of veering from side to side.

The actual fact is that careen means to turn a boat upside-down for cleaning, and career means to veer from side to side, now, just as in the 19th century.

A lot of ignorant people have always confused the two words, and now Dr. Goodword has joined them -- adding insult to injury by attempting to use the authority of his station to call his error an innovation.

I do believe you are the one who is wrong here. Here is what etymonline has on the etymology of both:

careen
1591, "to turn a ship on its side" (with the keel exposed), from M.Fr. carene "keel," from It. (Genoese dialect) carena, from L. carina "keel of a ship," originally "nutshell." Generalized sense of "to lean, to tilt" is 1883; 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).

career
c.1534, "a running course" (especially of the sun, etc., across the sky), from M.Fr. carriere "road, racecourse," from O.Prov. carriera, from V.L. *(via) cararia "carriage (road), track for wheeled vehicles," from L. carrus "chariot" (see car). Sense of "course of a working life" first attested 1803. The verb is first attested in 1594 from the notion of a horse "passing a career" on the jousting field, etc. Careerist is from 1917.

If you care to present your counter-arguments, refuting these points, I think we would all like to see them.
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Re: Careen

Postby Philip Hudson » Wed Jun 19, 2013 6:45 pm

DavidLJ: Welcome to the forum. Slava has responded to your comments and I have nothing to add to his response. I have been contributing to this forum for a long time. We frequently disagree here. But we are never disagreeable. I hope you will listen to me as one of your elders, for I am older than dirt and am pretty sure you are young. Tone down the rhetoric. Our leader is one of America's foremost linguists with excellent credentials. He may be mistaken on occasion, but I am not aware of any mistakes he has made. You called him an ignorant person. That is insulting and totally uncalled for.
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Re: Careen

Postby Audiendus » Wed Jun 19, 2013 7:56 pm

I think there is some confusion here.

Dr Goodword wrote:a confusion of the obsolete verb career "to run headlong"

etymonline wrote:Careen...In sense "to rush headlong", confused with career(v.) since at least 1923...To career is to move rapidly...

Here is my understanding of the correct distinction:

Careen
1. To turn a ship over on its side.
2. To pitch or tilt to one side.

Career
To rush headlong, possibly swerving/veering.
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Re: Careen

Postby Perry Lassiter » Wed Jun 19, 2013 8:27 pm

Possibly the confusion comes from the assumption that if a car (or something) careens down the street, it must have some velocity and thus careers.
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Re: Careen

Postby MTC » Wed Jun 19, 2013 8:49 pm

DavidLJ, to quote J.K. Rowling, "You show all the sensitivity of a blunt axe." If you hope to persuade others by insulting Dr. G , you are mistaken. Many of us have disagreed with Dr. G at one time or another, but without gratuitous abuse. Perhaps you've had a bad day, or perhaps you're "trolling" to use an online expression. Regardless, I think you owe the good Dr. an apology whether you recognize the need or not.
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