KEEL, the bottom timber or combination of plates of a ship or boat, extending longitudinally from bow to stern, and supporting the framework (see SHIP-BUILDING). The origin of the word has been obscured by confusion of two words, the Old Norwegian kjole (cf. Swedish kol) and a Dutch and German kiel. The first had the meaning of the English " keel," the other of ship, boat. The modern usage in Dutch and German has approximated to the English. The word kid is represented in old English by ceol, a word applied to the long war galleys of the Vikings, in which sense " keel " or " keele " is still used by archaeologists. On the Tyne " keel " is the name given to a flat-bottomed vessel used to carry coals to the colliers. There is another word " keel, " meaning to cool, familiar in Shakespeare (Love's Labour Lost, v. ii. 930), " while greasy Joan doth keel the pot," i.e. prevents a pot from boiling over by pouring in cold water, etc., stirring or skimming. This is from the Old English celan, to cool, a common Teutonic word, cf. German ktihlen.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)