ca·​reen | \ kə-ˈrēn How to pronounce careen (audio) \
careened; careening; careens

Definition of careen

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to put (a ship or boat) on a beach especially in order to clean, caulk, or repair the hull
2 : to cause to heel over High waves careened the boat.

intransitive verb

1a : to clean, caulk, or repair the hull of a boat
b : to undergo this process
2 : to heel over
3 : to sway from side to side : lurch a careening carriage being pulled wildly … by a team of runaway horses— J. P. Getty
4 : career The car careened down the hill.



Definition of careen (Entry 2 of 2)

: the act or process of careening : the state of being careened

Synonyms for careen

Synonyms: Verb

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Careen and Career


Some people might be confused by the warning to not confuse careen and career, because the most common sense of career ("a profession") is not much like any of the meanings of careen. But when employed as a verb, career does have some semantic overlap with careen; both words may be used to mean "to go at top speed especially in a headlong manner." A car, for instance, may either careen or career. Some usage guides hold, however, that the car is only careening if there is side-to-side motion, as careen has other meanings related to movement, among which is "to sway from side to side."

Examples of careen in a Sentence

Verb the sled careened as it barreled down the hill he careened unsteadily to the couch after hitting his head
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Colorful Mario Kart landscapes careen through the mind’s eye as two adult gamers name-drop their favorite virtual racing courses: Sherbet Land, Choco Mountain, Rainbow Road. Celia Wren, Washington Post, 27 June 2022 These positions are correct but pursuing them will require a delicate mix of diplomacy and plausible threats that do not careen out of control. W. James Antle Iii, The Week, 17 Feb. 2022 Over the years the pack has been known to careen down sidewalks, clog roadways, drive at break-neck speeds, even intentionally veer the wrong way on roads. Eileen Kelley,, 12 Jan. 2022 Video from an Ohio Department of Transportation traffic camera shows a car careen off an Interstate 90 overpass and roll down to West 98th Street, the second incident in three weeks, reports Olivia Mitchell. cleveland, 11 Feb. 2022 His development company, Crestlloyd, filed for bankruptcy last year, forcing the home to careen towards auction as part of the bankruptcy proceedings. Emma Reynolds, Forbes, 27 Jan. 2022 The stories careen between doughnut shops and Buddhist temples, and spiritual reincarnation figures into several plotlines. The Atlantic Culture Desk, The Atlantic, 24 Dec. 2021 Especially when the driver has a stroke, causing the car to careen out of control, rolling near the edge of a cliff. Lincee Ray,, 17 Dec. 2021 Inside Amazon, privacy staffers feared their company could careen into its own submerged iceberg of a privacy scandal. Will Evans, Wired, 18 Nov. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'careen.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of careen


circa 1583, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


1712, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for careen


from carine side of a ship, from Middle French, submerged part of a hull, from Latin carina hull, half of a nutshell; perhaps akin to Greek karyon nut

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Time Traveler for careen

Time Traveler

The first known use of careen was circa 1583

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Dictionary Entries Near careen

care and feeding



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Statistics for careen

Last Updated

1 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Careen.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for careen


ca·​reen | \ kə-ˈrēn How to pronounce careen (audio) \
careened; careening

Kids Definition of careen

: to go at high speed without control

More from Merriam-Webster on careen

Nglish: Translation of careen for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about careen


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